MPHS’s lady panthers train for fall |

MPHS’s lady panthers train for fall

Tomorrow, Saturday August 27, the Middle Park High School Volleyball Team will take to the court for their first matches of the 2016 fall season.

Guiding the lady panthers again this year is head coach Kate Lapham. Lapham will helm a team of 24 players, somewhat reduced from previous years, as the panther girls look to accomplish great things.

This year’s action gets right under way for the panthers. When the young ladies take the court Saturday afternoon in Granby they will be facing off against Faith Christian, one of the top 3A schools in the state. “That will be a really tough challenge as we have never played them before,” said Coach Lapham. “We know they are good but we don’t know what to expect.”

The first matches of the season for the panthers will begin at noon on Saturday with a C-Team set before the Junior Varsity takes the court at 1 p.m. Varsity action is scheduled to begin, with a best of five set, against Faith Christian around 2 p.m. All matches will be held at Middle Park High School.

Coach Lapham has high hopes for the panthers this year as she looks ahead to the coming season. She says she believes the girls have a strong chance of securing a berth in the State Tournament and is confident in the senior leadership on the team.

“We are looking pretty good,” Lapham said. “We have a lot of senior leadership; half our varsity team is seniors, and we have a really strong junior class. We lost two starters from last year who moved but we have had young players step in and step up. Our team has really worked hard and put in a lot of effort over the summer to fill the void left by the two starters.”

Lapham continued, explaining she believes the panthers are poised to be very competitive this year and, “if all goes well, we hope to make it to the State Tournament.”

Along with the loss of two starters the panthers will be somewhat challenged in the height department this season. “We are not a very tall team in regards to volleyball,” Lapham said. “We have worked hard on verticals over the summer. We are trying to improve our defense because we don’t have tall blockers up front.”

But what the panthers lack in pure height they are making up for with raw experience. “I have said over and over again, ‘we are a young team’. Now we are not,” Lapham said. “The core of the team has played together for three seasons. They have improved on all facets of their game. They are a really strong, developed and well rounded team.”

This year’s varsity team, with 12 players in total, is lead by a group of six returning senior girls. The panther’s junior varsity team also consists of 12 players, including three freshmen ladies who have decided to join. The panthers will also field a C-Team for the 2016 season.

The young ladies began practicing last Monday, August 15, with a series of team try-outs. Since then the girls have been working to get into competitive shape with two-a-day practices. The intense training regimen continued through most of this week. Coach Lapham said she planned to end two-a-days early though to, “make sure the girls aren’t overly sore or tired for the game.”

This year the MPHS ladies have 23 matches scheduled, including league tournament play. Along with their upcoming contest against Faith Christian Coach Lapham says she is looking forward to playing regional rivals West Grand later this fall.

“We always look forward to West Grand,” Lapham said. “They beat us the last two years. The girls are really pumped up to play West Grand this year and are hoping to get some redemption.”

Funky, untamed improvisation, Woodshed Red

Woodshed Red hails from the Colorado Springs area and performs all over Colorado and its neighboring states. Comprised of guitar, fiddle, stand-up bass and drums from varying musical backgrounds; the group came together in 2013 and began covering a wide variety of genres. Inspired by bluegrass, blues, funk and rock and many eras of music, the band members have incorporated their individual styles to create their own unique sound. The instrumentation of Woodshed Red generates an upbeat positive grassy sound, intertwined with funky, untamed improvisation.

The band plays from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cooper Creek for Music on the Square, Friday, August 26 around the courtyard fountain and under the lights.

Grand Dog candidates: Koru and Tui

My name is Heidi Weisskopf and these future Grand Dogs are Koru and Tui. They are the first team to enter! . Where would be be without a captain and his first mate, King and Queen, or Lucy and Ricky!

Koru (New Zealand Maori for “loop”) is a spiral shape symbolizing new life and growth. I saw a construction truck that said Koru and had the spiral on the side. New Zealand has been a huge part of my life since 1991- I had a long list of possible names and Koru was at the top. The universe had spoken!

He was rescued from Oklahoma by the Evergreen Animal Protection League. After a year, I realized how much happier he was playing with other dogs. He needed a buddy… Along came Tui (a bird native to New Zealand). They were inseparable from the minute she came home- she also was adopted from EAPL from Arkansas. We are very fortunate in Colorado for all the great rescue organizations. These animals don’t have much chance at life or a good life in many other states. I am very grateful for my mutts, but spaying and neutering is very important.

I’ve been in the valley 26 years and know what dogs love about living here- I previously had litter mates Sage and Guinness. Koru and Tui swim, hike, paddle boat, fish, snowshoe, cross country ski and go 4 wheeling. Anything that involves running and playing hard! They are young and happy, always up for an adventure.

Tui’s motto is “don’t fence me in”. She can squeeze her way through the smallest of gaps in my fence but just hangs out. She is really cuddly, always needing to be next to you or preferably on your lap. Koru is a big mellow dog most of the time, but he plays hard with Tui, often not realizing she’s half his size. She’s full of spunk and gives it right back. They are best buddies, often sleeping on top of each other.

Koru and Tui deserve to be Grand Dogs. They embody the canine spirit of Grand County and will be amazing ambassadors. Keep in mind that while this is a competition, it’s to raise money for two great causes. Please support Advocates and Pet Pals. Vote for Koru and Tui.!!

The fabric of tradition

We live in a time of changing tastes. For many decades following World War II mass American culture tended to prize ease and convenience over quality. Generations of Americans emerged into the post-war era seeking to escape the “drudgery” of domestic life by favoring “time-saving” products like frozen dinners.

Along the way a lifestyle long exalted in the western US fell out of favor. Where homemade products were once a staple, mass production came into vogue.

Generations of children have now been raised with little connection to the means of production of the products they consume.

That dynamic is starting to change though as a movement begins to take hold with consumers showing favor for unique, handcrafted and artisanal products over those which are mass produced. This movement has taken many forms: shop locally, farm-to-table, Etsy. But at its core the subtle slow shift in consumer preferences is about elevating quality over convenience or price.

This movement has been a boon for some local business owners who fill unique niches. Tina Holley, owner and operator of the Fabric Nook in Granby, is well poised to take advantage of this shift in consumer preferences.

Holley purchased the Fabric Nook from longtime storeowner Lorene Linke in October last year. Holley spent 20-years working for Linke at the Fabric Nook on a part-time basis. “Lorene asked me if I would like to work a few hours a day, she knew I had the skills for it,” Holley said. “I started as a garment sewist. It helped me to buy fabric. I basically worked for fabric at the time.” Holley joked.

When Linke began seriously considering retirement she approached Holley to see if the younger woman was interested in purchasing the business. “I looked at it and decided, if I could I would,” Holley said. “It has been exciting.”

Holley’s extensive experience working with fabrics, clothing design, sewing and other similar activities goes back to her childhood. “I started sewing when I was about 11,” Holley said. “I was making my own clothes through high school and middle school. I was also adjusting my friends clothes, whether their parents liked it or not.”

Holley’s love of sewing and clothing design would eventually become a secondary source of income after she was married and had children. “It was a good way for me to make a little extra,” Holley said. “I would repair and adjust clothing and did some design consultation. I used to work on bridal and bridal party dresses but my hands don’t allow it. Now that I have the shop I don’t have time for anymore anyways.”

Holley is a self-taught seamstress whose natural talent for reading patterns allowed her to take on difficult projects even at a young age. To learn tailoring and how to alter clothes she wouldn’t normally wear she would purchase suits and gowns at thrift stores, take them apart and put them back together.

One of Holley’s greatest loves is quilting. She began quilting about 15-years ago for fun. As part of their expansive quilting products the Fabric Nook participates in the Row-by-Row Experience, a international quilting program wherein independent fabric stores throughout the nation develop their own unique quilt row designs that can be purchased exclusively from the individual store they are designed at.

Quilters who participate in the Row-by-Row Experience try to purchase multiple unique rows developed at different fabric stores and then quilt the various rows together into a single quilt. The rows can be purchased from June 21 to Sept. 6 and must be purchased in person in a brick-and-mortar store. So far this year Holley has sold 360 row kits for the Row-by-Row Experience.

Along with an expansive selection of fabrics and quilting products the Fabric Nook also sells what people in the sewing world call, “notions”, or the ancillary products, such as zippers, seam rippers and tape measures, required to complete a project; the Fabric Nook also offers sewing and quilting classes on Wednesdays on a nearly weekly basis.

Business has been good for the Fabric Nook this summer and Holley sees the shift in consumer tastes as a positive but is concerned about the future for independent stores like hers. “There is a bit of an upswing (in interest), although independent fabric stores are disappearing all over. Quilters know the difference between Wal-Mart fabric and independent store fabric. A lot of fabrics that are available for me to buy are not available to other stores that are not independent.”

Holley explained her business philosophy as such, “When you walk into my store you are the most important person in the room and hopefully you will leave with a smile as big as mine.”

The Fabric Nook is located at 387 East Agate Avenue in Granby, right next door to Azteca restaurant. They are open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. A store website,, is expected to go live in the coming weeks.

If you’re looking for sewing or quilting equipment, a bit of advice on how to tackle a project, or just want to peruse Holley’s lovely inviting store stop on by, the atmosphere is as warm and inviting as the owner herself.

No term limits for some elected officials

The Grand County Board of County Commissioners decided not to pursue a ballot question regarding term limits for some elected officials at their Thursday, August 23 meeting in Hot Sulphur Springs.

In a phone call with Commissioner Jane Tollett, who was absent from the meeting, she stated she did not feel it was necessary to pursue the term limits at this time, and the other commissioners agreed. Commissioner Manguso said that if the public would like to bring this matter up in the future they are more than welcome. Commissioner Link also said the ballot was crowded enough as it is, and this question may just complicate it further.

The elected officials that would have been affected by term limits included the Assessor, Clerk and Recorder, Coroner, Sheriff, Surveyor, and Treasurer.

Golf tournament to benefit IceBox Chiller project

The Fraser Valley Hockey Association (FVHA) will host its second annual golf tournament at Pole Creek Golf Course to benefit the IceBox Chiller Project on Sunday, September 25.

Proceeds go towards installing a permanent chiller system at the IceBox hockey rink. Having a chilled, closed-in facility will allow the FVHA teams to practice and play games on a much more dependable schedule. The rink currently has two open walls and the ice conditions are dependent on weather in the Fraser Valley. This makes it difficult to operate a hockey program that can compete with teams from Denver and other areas with year-round facilities.

Dedicated hockey mom, Sarah Cichon-Douglas is helping organize the golf tournament and fundraising efforts. According to Cichon-Douglas, the approximate cost of this project is $500,000. As of now the association has raised almost $175,000. Their goal is to reach a halfway point of $250,000. The refrigeration project is comprised of three components – purchasing the refrigeration system, bringing three-phase power to the facility, and constructing a steel building to enclose the system. The chillers are already installed under the ice, Cichon-Douglas said. The main costs are hooking up power, buying the actual compressor and housing the compressor. A decision by Mountain Parks Electric Inc. (MPEI) will reduce the FVRD’s estimated budget for the potential refrigeration. MPEI has reviewed and reduced their “capacity charge.” The initial capacity charge estimate was $43,000 and the new estimate is $12,000, which allows the rec district to reduce their project budget by about $31,000.

Cichon-Douglas pointed out the struggle the hockey program faces when they are playing against teams that can practice several times a week early in the season. For the FVHA teams, practice early in the season means traveling at least an hour to get some ice time.

Every year in early September, the kids who play on the developmental hockey teams start heading out of Grand County for early season practice. The teams have traveled to Breckenridge in the past, and will begin heading to Littleton for Friday practices starting September 9 for the 16/17 season.

“FVHA has a carpool available for kids, but it becomes exhausting,” said Cichon-Douglas.

“Essentially, we are driving almost four hours for an hour and a half of practice.”

FVHA often has to cancel games because of insufficient ice conditions, and find it difficult to reschedule elsewhere because most ice rinks have jam-packed schedules.

“Being situated in the ‘IceBox of the Nation’ one would believe we do not need chillers, however, this is far from the case,” Cichon-Douglas said.

“We have had many instances when games have been cancelled, as well as practices, when we have a mild period in the midst of winter.”

Cichon-Douglas pointed out how far the program has come so far:

“Mountain kids, as we all know, are resilient and athletic. Even during hockey season, our kids are out skiing in Big Mountain competitions, cross county skiing or riding snowmobiles. Simultaneously, our coaching is developing as well. Being undefeated is proof of great athletes, however, you need knowledgeable and motivating coaches. We are retaining coaches who do not have kids in the program. That is huge. We have a great hockey community in the Fraser Valley.”

Maintaining a climate-dependent ice rink is an extremely difficult job, and Cichon-Douglas, praised the IceBox staff responsible for preparing the ice.

“The guys who maintain the rink at the IceBox are incredible. They do a phenomenal job maintaining our ice. They are the quiet heroes in this situation. It just becomes a nightmare when the temperatures increase,” she said.

Despite the difficulties the FVHA faces without consistent ice, the Peewee team went undefeated last season and won their division in the Denver North Hockey League (DNHL).

FVRD Parks and Athletics Manager Austin DeGarmo discussed the process of maintaining the IceBox and the challenges the crew faces:

“A natural sheet of ice has many challenges. The initial ice making is a grueling and tedious process without refrigeration. We patiently wait for a good cold streak in the forecast, like five days of 5 – 15 degree weather. When we see that window in the forecast, we go for it. This process requires misting 25 layers of very thin ice, applying white paint to the ice surface, inserting vinyl hockey lines, and sandwiching all that in with an additional 25 – 30 thin layers of water. We crank early mornings and late nights until it’s done. During the process we are keeping our fingers crossed that the weatherman made an accurate forecast. I’m amazed that staff returns each year to take on such a task.”

“The refrigeration project was identified as a high priority on the needs assessment survey,” said DeGarmo.

The Fraser Valley Recreation District, Fraser Valley Hockey Association, and the Fraser Valley Rec Foundation continue to work on grant and fundraising opportunities.

The FVHA ‘Freeze the Rink’ Golf Tournament was a success last season, DeGarmo said.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife introduces bear aware videos

Colorado Parks and Wildlife announces the release of four bear aware videos to educate the public about how to deal with bears in Colorado.

As Colorado’s human population continues to grow, there are more people living and recreating in bear country. The potential for conflict will inevitably rise, but there are actions humans can take to mitigate bear break-ins, conflicts or run-ins on the trail.

Bears have an extremely keen sense of smell and excellent memories. Once they have learned about a reliable source of food, they will often return. Once this occurs, it requires significant diligence on the part of people to keep these food-conditioned bears from coming back and creating conflicts.

“CPW is committed to teaching the public about bears on every channel available to us,” said Kristin Cannon, district wildlife manager for Boulder. “While we have many great wildlife-related videos on our website and YouTube channel, we felt we were overdue on showing the public how to live in or visit bear country. Hopefully these videos will help Colorado natives, newcomers and visitors learn the tools to providing a safe and bear-friendly community.”


Camping & Hiking In Bear Country:

What to Do if You See a Bear:

Wright: Fitness equipment maintenance

Within the fitness industry, for all of us that are club owners, maintaining our fitness equipment is crucial to ensure safety and effective usage and to protect the longevity of the equipment. Heavy equipment such as multi-gyms and cardiovascular equipment, such as treadmills, are a huge financial investment and must be consistently maintained over time to prevent premature replacement and, of course, to keep the equipment safe and enjoyable for our clientele to use. If the equipment is consistently maintained, according to the manufacturer’s requirements, most high quality equipment will last for years.

Follow the guidelines highlighted below both to maintain your in-home heavy fitness equipment and your small fitness equipment. Not only is this the safest path to follow, it is the most economical! As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

• Heavy equipment, usually defined as equipment that is not easily portable and has a specific footprint and placement element, requires daily/weekly maintenance. Even if you are the only one using the equipment, the dust particles, sweat, oil from your skin, and bacteria begin to build up on the equipment. Specifically, the cables, pulleys and weight stacks on multi-gyms which ultimately leads to the weight plates sticking together and the cable/pulley mechanisms not sliding smoothly and safely. Again, follow the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance requirements precisely and, in most cases, you will enjoy a fully functional cable/pulley system.

• Treadmills and other cardiovascular equipment such as ellipticals, have enough moving parts, and many with lots of electronic bells and whistles, that it is important to have these maintained by a professional cardiovascular equipment technician. We only permit licensed technicians to repair our treadmills and other cardiovascular equipment. We do regularly clean and test our equipment according to the manufacturer’s requirements and the recommendations of our maintenance technician.

• Indoor group exercise cycles are poorly maintained in many health clubs. Although essential, it is not adequate to have the riders just wipe down the bike with sanitary wipes after use. Our indoor group cycles are heavily used. Consequently, we specifically perform deep cleaning and maintenance weekly. This is the primary reason that the bikes remain in good working order. Additionally, if a bike has a repair required, it is immediately repaired or parts replaced. Even if you have an indoor group cycle at home and are the only one using it, take the time to maintain it so that it will operate optimally for you for years to come.

• Small equipment such as dumbbells, barbells (and the clamps that hold the plates), plates, resistive tubing, ropes, TRX Suspension Systems, agility ladders, medicine balls, plyo boxes, clubs, sandbags, hanging leg raise slings, etc. should be cleaned daily and maintained primarily through inspection. When inspecting, make certain that there are no issues with the equipment such as tears in tubing, degraded carabineers on TRX Suspension Systems, holes or breaches in clubs/sandbags and plyo boxes. If there is a breach, then in most cases these pieces of equipment either need to be replaced or repurposed if safe and useful to do so.

In short, if you maintain your equipment regularly, clean it after each use and store it safely, it will, when safely and effectively utilized, provide you with a plethora of fitness benefits for life.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at, her email at and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.

Another dusting of snow on the peaks

Outdoor profile: Mark Murphy:

Mark Murphy of Granby moved to Grand County in 1975, the year he got out of the Army. He heard about the big fish in Granby and got “the bug”.

He was successful, at first.

“I tried different things and lost a big lake trout, then I was really hooked,” he said.

In the ‘80s a group of people started ice fishing for lake trout, Murphy said.

“And we got successful.”

He and his fishing buddy Brent Park have been fishing together for over 25 years now.

Now, he is completely addicted to fishing in all seasons.

In summer, he fishes for lake trout on a boat and loves to take kids and older people fishing with him.

“It’s a way to connect to the outdoors,” he said.

He started meeting people in the parking lot at the boat ramps around Grand County and shared information about the best places to fish. Lake Granby is one his favorite places to fish.

“I’ve talked to people from Canada, Mexico and South Africa in these parking lots. I just enjoy showing people visiting Grand County how to catch a fish.”

Look for Mark next time you head out on the water and maybe he will give you fishing tip.