NORTH's Person of the Year-2024 || APR/MAY 2024 || William J. Hybl

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APRIL/MAY 2024 $4.95/USA
NORTH Magazine’s Person of the Year William J. HYBL JULY 19-21, 2024 Register at
Photo by Don Jones, Studio 9 Commercial Photography
HUNGRY? F o u r r e s t a u r a n t s o n e l o c a t i o n I I


Springtime in the Rockies! What better time to pause and reflect on the blessing that is living in this place? What better time to take a moment and be intentional about giving thanks and lifting up those who seek to lead our community day to day and into the future? Thanks to my friend Pastor Steve Holt from The Road Church and some of his colleagues for this thoughtful prayer for our community — for our leaders.

We live in a great city and county. After living in Colorado Springs for 30 years, I can unequivocally say this. Let’s pray it remains so!

What makes a great county? What constitutes a great city? I believe it’s three key things: having servant leadership of high moral character in positions of influence; having strong united churches and pastors; and I believe it is the mighty prayers undergirding all aspects of the city.

Mayor Yemi Mobolade asks for prayer: “Pray for the peace of our city, Psalm 122:6-8; pray for wisdom and to have the mind of Christ to govern our city. 1 Kings 3:8-9.”

Carrie Geitner, District 2, El Paso County Commissioner, captured the purpose of prayer for government and the governed, when she texted me, “Pray for citizens of El Paso to build and grow the church, influence the culture, and support libertyminded and moral county government.”

Sheriff Joe Roybal said to me “[Pray for] the safety of our employees, their families, and our community.” He continued, “Give us the strength needed to weather any adversity.”

Stuart Davis, the director of COSILOVEYOU, “[Pray] for the many families living at the margins, struggling to make ends meet.”

Nothing great ever happens without someone praying! Would you take a few moments to pray for our county and city right now?

A Prayer for our City and County

“Most gracious Heavenly Father, we thank you for your mercies and loving kindness towards El Paso County and the city of Colorado Springs. Empower our government leaders with the presence of your Holy Spirit. We pray for wisdom to be upon Mayor Yemi Mobolade, Sheriff Joe Roybal, Chief of Police Adrian Vasquez and Fire Chief Randy Royal. We ask for divine guidance to be given to our El Paso County Commissioners: Cami Bremer, Carrie Geitner, Longinos Gonzalez, Jr., Stan VanderWerf and Holly Williams. We lift up our city council members: Randy Helms, Lynette Crow-Iverson, Dave Donelson, Michelle Talarico, Yolanda Avila, Nancy Henjum, Mike O’Malley, David Leinweber and Brian Risley. We pray for love and unity upon the pastors and churches of Colorado Springs. We pray for justice to roll down in all their decisions, protecting the most vulnerable, loving the loneliest, and leading our city and county into righteousness. Amen.”

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11 NEWS, Salem Media, Visit COS, United States Air Force Academy Athletics, Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Springs Airport & YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region NORTH is published by and is the exclusive property of Colorado Media Group, LLC- A registered C-Corp in the state of Colorado. The NORTH Compass is property of Colorado Media Group, LLC and may not be used without consent. P.O Box 13395 Voyager Parkway Ste 130 - PMB #746 | Colorado Springs, CO 80921 719-330-7448 |
R. Hobbs Founder, Executive Publisher, Colorado Media Group NORTH & So. Colorado Business Forum & Digest/TrueNORTH & Business Digest Weekly Radio
NORTH February/March 2024 3
4 COLORADOMEDIAGROUP.COM CONTENTS 17 The Colorado Springs Steakhouse Guide From Palmer Lake to the Broadmoor, one of these local gems will satisfy 58 Here Comes COS (Sneeze) Season Listen to an expert on how best to manage this spring. 58/ HEALTH & WELLNESS Here Comes Colorado’s Sneeze Season 58 Fentanyl: From Prescription to Prevention 60 Beyond the Basics 64 Is Your Vet Hospital Privately Owned? 66 70/ REAL ESTATE, WEALTH & FINANCE Factors Affecting Home Affordability 70 Be Reasonable this Tax Season 76 Fighting Human Trafficking 80 Welcome Sue’s Gift 84 30/COLORADO LIFESTYLE & HOME NORTH’s Person of the Year 30 Keep Looking for the Light 35 From Ashes to Action 36 Chamber Orchestra of the Springs 40 Jajaira Gonzalez is Paris-Bound 42 6/ PEOPLE & COMMUNITY Discover Unique Outdoor Adventures 6 Activities Guide for Spring 9 Race to the Clouds 14 Passion for Pollinators 20 The Making of My She-Shed 24 Mother’s Day Experiences 26 APRIL/MAY 2024 ISSUE VOL. 4 NO. 2
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Learn why conservation of these creatures is critical to Colorado

Discover Unique Outdoor Adventures (for Locals Too!)


Amp’d Adventures is a local small business that pioneered electric bike tours and rentals in the region. Located at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center, Amp’d Adventures keep tour sizes very small with great guides. This family-run business considers staff and guests to be a part of their extended family. Check out tours of world-famous Garden of the Gods Park, a Wild West Tour through Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City, or sample some flavorful local craft beers on the Bike-nBrews Tour.


Helen Hunt Falls is a must-see destination, located above North Cheyenne Cañon Park. The falls have their own visitor center, and you can see them from the bottom or by crossing the bridge above. Helen Hunt Falls is free to the public.

Lake Pueblo was rated a fishing “hot spot,” and it provides over 4,600 surface acres of water, 60 miles of shoreline and almost 10,000 acres of land. Water recreation includes sailing, motor-boating, waterskiing, tubing and prime fishing. Boaters choose from two full-service marinas and boat ramps. Land recreation includes hiking, biking, picnicking and diverse nature exploration. Miles of trails make it easy to discover the beauty of the shady Arkansas River below the dam or the wonder of 200-year-old juniper trees.

The Paint Mines Interpretive Park is a unique blending of geological, archaeological, historical and ecological resources. This park consists of more than four miles of trails, offering outdoor fun for all ages with an easy hike, geological splendor, and a richly woven past. Located in Calhan, this free park is filled with rocky wonders that are covered in rich pigments, which communities of Native Americans utilized to create paint. The park is open throughout the year with available times running from dawn to dusk.


Buggy Tours offers excursions to the summit of Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, The Broadmoor, Cheyenne Cañon, Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs. Locally and family-owned, Buggy Tours offers jeep tours for the ultimate Colorado adventure. Jeeps seat up to four passengers and are fully enclosed, with options to remove the top with warmer weather. The Van can accommodate up to eight passengers for bigger parties. Jeeps can drive year round. Natural snacks and drinks are provided as well. Buggy Tours’ knowledgeable drivers point out interesting history, fun facts and nature notes along the way.



Paddle Board Yoga aims to introduce you to a unique yoga experience while enjoying the natural splendor of floating on water. The sport combines Hatha yoga and Vinyasa yoga asanas, and other practices, all while trying to stay atop a standup paddle board.


Cheyenne Cañon Segways offers unique off-road segway tours in Cheyenne Cañon, highlighting nature, art and the history of the cañon, Colorado Springs and The Broadmoor resort. This history tour can accommodate up to six riders for one- or two-hour tours, for ages 12 and older. Private tours are also available. Learn about Spencer and Julie Penrose, the inside scoop on The Broadmoor Hotel and some of the area’s most historic residences. Enjoy the beauty of Cheyenne Cañon, the Starsmore Nature Center and the one-of-a-kind soaring kinetic art by local artist Star Kempf.


Did you know that some of the best skydiving in the state can be found in Penrose, Colorado? For the adventurous, check out High Sky Adventures Parachute Club or Out of the Blue Skydiving.

High Sky Adventures Parachute Club, Fremont County Airport: (719) 598-5867

Out of the Blue Skydiving: (719) 784-1166


Great Outdoors Adventures (GOA) is a familyrun business sparked by a passion for creating memorable outdoor experiences. Started in 2018, GOA’s owners have more than 25 years of outdoor recreation experience. Based out of Woodland Park, GOA offers guests guided or self-guided tours with the best UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicles) rentals, Jeep rentals and Polaris Slingshot rentals. Explore National Forests, Lake George, West Creek and more. GOA also has cabins and RV hook-up sites at their M Lazy C Ranch, opening in May 2024. • (719) 249-1950

Colorado Springs is a mecca for outdoor activities for every age and ability. For even more things to do in the great outdoors, check out

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Activities GUIDE

“Hu’o’ng Ngô: Ungrafting” Exhibition

March 1 - July 27

The Fine Arts Center

Admission is $10, $5 senior/military; free for teachers/ students with school ID/children under 12.

This art exhibit by Hu’o’ng Ngô explores the impact of colonial histories.

Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room”

April 11, 7pm (doors open at 6pm)

Ivywild School

Tickets are available online for $6, or at the door for $8.

Enjoy a screening of the cult favorite film “The Room” (2003, rated R).

Broadmoor Garden Club Open Meeting: “Memories, Moons & Imagination”

April 12, 10:30am

First United Methodist Church auditorium

RSVP by April 5 to

The Broadmoor Garden Club invites you to attend “Memories, Moons and Imagination” featuring nature photographer Eddie Soloway. Reservations required

Electrowave: The Rocky Mountain Electronic Music Festival

Apr 13, 10am-9:30pm • Apr 14, 11am-5pm

Ent Center for the Arts

Admission is free.

Two days of performances, research presentations, workshops, nightlife and more!

Little Women the Musical

April 16-18

Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets start at $39. shows/littlewomen

Produced nationally and internationally, “Little Women” has been praised by critics for its ambition in bringing the timeless, captivating story to vivid musical life on stage.

The Petty Nicks Experience

April 26, 7pm (doors open at 5pm)

Boot Barn Hall at Bourbon Brothers

Tickets are $39-$59. tag/web24

All your favorite Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks songs in one fantastic show.

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Monster Jam

Apr 26-28

The Broadmoor World Arena

Tickets are $20-$70, plus applicable fees. monsterjam24

These Monster Jam drivers are trained, world-class male and female athletes who have mastered the physical strength and mental stamina needed to compete, and the vital dexterity to control 12,000-pound machines.

Old Teller County Jail Ghost Hunt with Haunted Rooms America

April 27, 8pm-2am

Outlaws and Lawmen Museum

Admission is $99, and guests must be over 18.

The Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum is shrouded in tales of the paranormal and, is without a doubt, one of the most haunted locations in Colorado.

2024 LVR Benefit Concert with Wirewood Station

April 28, 6pm (doors open at 4pm)

Boot Barn Hall at Bourbon Brothers

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors & military; free for Rock Ledge members & kids under 12.

A fun night of music, dancing, and fundraising at the Boot Barn Hall. All ticket sales benefit Lutheran Valley Retreat’s programs and mission. Food and drinks are available for purchase throughout the evening.

First Friday Art Walk

May 3, 4:30-8pm

Downtown Colorado Springs

First Friday Downtown features new art, live music, and special events on the first Friday of every month at dozens of galleries, retailers and nonprofits throughout Downtown Colorado Springs.

Walking Tour: Historic Architecture & Murals

May 4, 10-11am

Wild Goose Meeting House Admission is $15.

Past meets future in this behind-the-scenes tour of Downtown’s historic architecture and contemporary murals. Arrrive at 9:30am to get a beverage (included in admission price).

Macaroni KID Colorado Springs

Presents: Find Your Family Fun!

May 4, 10am-3pm

SoccerHaus events-1/macaroni-kid-cos-presents-the-2024find-your-family-fun-an-interactive-resourceexpo-for-el-paso-teller-county

Be prepared for some amazing photo opportunities with “Star Wars” characters, Batman and his mobile, and the Jurassic Park truck. A couple of dinosaurs will be walking around tooat this interactive resource expo for El Paso and Teller counties.

Jurassic Attack truck in the Monster Jam family.

The Annual Never Alone Foundation Family Ball

May 4, VIP Dinner 5:30-7pm • Family Dance 7-10pm

Broadmoor International Center

VIP dinner is $125 for adults, $45 for children (12 and under). Family Dance is $50 for couples, $75 for families.

A fun night of dinner and dancing at the Broadmoor!

All funds raised will benefit The Never Alone Foundation and go directly toward supporting adoption and adoptive families.

Hunter-Wolff Gallery: “Old Colorado City In Bloom”

May 11, 10am-7pm

Hunter-Wolff Gallery

Admission is free.

Meet top performing artists and see live demonstrations by painters Ed McKay, Karen Storm and others on the sidewalks and indoors!

Hillside Gardens Summer Concert Series

Every Wednesday, May 15-Aug 14, 5-8:30pm

Hillside Garden

Admission is $15.

When the sun goes down, the music turns up! Enjoy live music, food and beverage booths and beautiful gardens at Hillside Garden’s Summer Concert Series. For ages 16 and up. Please note there is no outside food or drink permitted and pets are not allowed.

Garden of the Gods Art Fest

May 18-19, 10am-5pm

Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and military, FREE for Rock Ledge members and kids under 12.

This new fine art and craft festival is hosted by Dash Events and will take place at one of the most picturesque properties of Colorado Springs — Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site.

Annual MeadowGrass Music Festival

May 24, 12pm - May 26, 11:30pm

La Foret Conference & Retreat Center

Three days of live music, a beer festival, workshops, vendors, late-night shows and more. This family-friendly event also offers guided hikes, camping and yoga. Kids 12 and under are free with a paid adult. The concerts are on the Friday and Saturday night, each featuring 2 bands.

Register for the 2024 Rocky Mountain States Games, July 19-21! This year marks the 23rd RMSG, and participants of all ages and abilities have the opportunity to compete in over 30 different sports! rockymountainstategames/sports

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“Old Friends” by Ed McKay.

Race to the

Second-oldest motorsport race in America draws international audience to Pikes Peak in June

Few events can spotlight the storied history of Colorado Springs like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) does each June.

It was 1916 when philanthropist and Broadmoor Hotel owner Spencer Penrose financed improvements to an existing carriage road that reached the summit of Pikes Peak. The result was a dirt highway which supported two lanes for most of the stretch. At the time, it was quite modern.

“He decided that, to promote his road, his hotel and bring tourism — it was always his goal to bring people to Colorado Springs — he would stage a race on Pikes Peak and he did that over three days in August of 1916,” says PPIHC Historian Lisa Haight.

It has been 108 years since open-wheel cars first raced up that dirt highway to the 14,115-foot summit of America’s Mountain. In 2024, the now-paved highway will feature six divisions of world-class racers from 12 countries. The five full-time PPIHC staffers are teaming up with hundreds of volunteers and partners to continue the Penrose legacy event.

Haight is one of those staffers. She grew up around the event as her dad raced and won the stock car division five times. She’s been the event’s communications manager and historian for about six years; before that she’d been a volunteer for 20 years.

Gaining an International Flair

Haight says her dad, who raced in the 1950s and 1960s, grew up in Cascade watching the earlier racing of the 1940s. In fact, the only times fans couldn’t watch the race to the clouds was during WW1 and WW2, when the event paused for war efforts. For this reason, 2024 is the 108th anniversary but 102nd running.

In the 1950s, stock cars were added. It wasn’t long before sports cars like Porsche were climbing the Peak.

“The rally division was really popular in the ’80s, bringing a lot of European drivers, and that really gave us an international appeal because now people were hearing of Pikes Peak, and to win at Pikes Peak was a big

Rea Lentz won the overall event on the third race day in 1916, in his Romano Special. (Photo courtesy of PPIHC Archives)

deal around the world,” says Haight. “We’re very well known around the world but it’s funny to me that a lot of people in Colorado Springs don’t know what it is.”

This year, the divisions are Unlimited, Time Attack 1, Pikes Peak GT4 Trophy by Yokohama, Open Wheel, Pikes Peak Open, and Exhibition. The racecars in the Unlimited division are most likely to set a new overall course record.

The Stories Behind the Wheel

A selection committee of race industry professionals reviews the 100-plus race applications including race resumes, experience, and references. This year, 72 applicants made the cut.

Two of those drivers are Kendall Samuel and Mary Barker of Hendersonville, NC.

“Kendall came out here with his girlfriend last year. When he finished the race, he got back down to the start line and ended up proposing to her,” says Haight, about Samuel’s rookie year.

Around the time of the proposal though, Barker was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. While the news threatened to delay her dream of racing alongside Samuel on America’s Mountain, she made it through chemo and onto the start list as one of only five women on this year’s roster.

Each of the 72 racers comes with his or her own story. If you need help deciding who to root for, check out the competitor list, which was announced in March and is available on the PPIHC website.

Mr. Penrose would be proud to know his event’s livestream now reaches motorsport fans the world over, and that his early efforts to promote Colorado Springs as a bucket-list travel destination have certainly paid off.

How to See the Action

JUNE 23: Race Day Spectators

Spectator tickets range from $45 to $500, while camping permits are $300. Tickets and permits available by spectator area or camp spot here:

JUNE 23: Race Day Livestream

Catch the action from home by watching the livestream, listening to live radio, or following along on social media. More info will be available here:

JUNE 18-21: Practice Day Tickets

Race fans can get in on the action with fewer crowds by purchasing practice day tickets which range from $85 to $115. Tickets available here:

JUNE 21: Fan Fest in Downtown COS

Free to attend, Fan Fest is a ten-block street party from 5-9 PM with competitor and vendor displays. The family-friendly event provides opportunities to meet drivers, top sponsors, and witness high-flying stunts during the FMX show.

Tickets are on sale now for the June 23rd invitation-only Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo.

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Bobby Unser won the Sports Car division in 1964 in his Lotus 23B, with a time of 13:19.10. (Photo courtesy of PPIHC Archives) Racing continued to gain popularity above the clouds through the ’60s and ’70s. (Photo courtesy of PPIHC Archives)

Writing the Book on Living Outside

Your home, nestled somewhere here in the Colorado Springs area, is more than a stick-built frame with siding and a roof. It’s a property waiting to be used and developed. That purpose is not confined to the interior but extends to the exterior — a landscape of possibilities waits to be developed into some masterpiece, based on the narrative you write as the homeowner. High-end landscaping, beyond its visual appeal, is an art that intertwines with your day-to-day living experience. Let’s explore three profound reasons homeowners invest in the transformative power of landscaping and outdoor living spaces.

Solving Your Property’s Challenges

Your outdoor space, like the chapters of a novel, presents challenges that are unique to your home. Uneven terrain, unruly slopes, or a desire for more privacy – these are the plot points that our skilled landscaping team approaches as creative challenges. Picture a sloping backyard prone to water runoff transformed into a terraced oasis, solving drainage issues and crafting a visually stunning solution. In your story, landscaping becomes the tool that turns potential problems into captivating features.

Crafting Purposeful Spaces

Living outside isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor; it’s about understanding the nuances of your lifestyle. Your outdoor spaces, from an enchanting kitchen under the open sky to a cozy fire pit for shared stories, become

extensions of your living space. This isn’t just about aesthetics — it’s a narrative of purpose. Your outdoor space becomes a living testimony to intentionality, where every feature serves a meaningful purpose in the unfolding story of your home. In what purpose can your outdoor space better serve you?

Your Vision, Our Masterpiece

Every homeowner harbors a unique vision, a chapter they wish to pen in the narrative of their property. Whether it’s a vibrant, flower-filled garden or a modern, minimalist sanctuary, Freedom Landscapes steps in as the collaborator, turning your concept into a reality. Imagine each plant, each stone, and every detail carefully considered to ensure that your landscape becomes a true reflection of your vision.

At Freedom Landscapes, we grasp that landscaping is a journey of creativity, functionality and personal expression that’s unique to each homeowner. Our team of dedicated designers and installers collaborates closely with you to address challenges, enhance functionality and breathe life into your unique vision. The result is a landscaped property that is a developing masterpiece to extend the Colorado Springs living experience outdoors — your home, your narrative, your landscaping.

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Brought to you by Freedom Landscapes


There’s nothing quite like a good steak. When the craving hits, there are plenty of great options available in the Colorado Springs area. The atmosphere of each restaurant varies greatly, but they all have something in common — locals greatly love them.

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Prime 25 is the perfect spot for contemporary downtown dining. They serve USDA prime-aged beef, and their seafood is flown in daily. The chefs offer seasonal menus so there’s always something new to try, and their expert staff can point you in the right direction for an impeccable dining experience.

1605 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs 80905

$50-100 per plate


For a classic, self-proclaimed “late-night Chicago” atmosphere, go to The Famous. This awardwinning restaurant features Colorado spirits, wines, beers and incredible steak. Cozy booths and dim lighting make this a great date-night spot or a place to meet up with old friends.

Downtown Colorado Springs: 31 N. Tejon St., Colorado Springs 80903

Castle Rock: 810 New Memphis Ct., Castle Rock 80108

$50-100 per plate

The Famous offers some of the finest cuts in Colorado Springs. With cozy and classic dining at The Famous’s downtown COS location.

Ambiance is part of the Prime25 experience. Including panoramic views on the upstairs patio.


For a classy and intimate atmosphere, try MacKenzie’s Chophouse. The staff is friendly, the lighting is low, and the food is good. Casual but elegant, MacKenzie’s offers happy hour with a drink menu featuring martinis and fine wines. The menu changes weekly, so there’s always something new to try.

128 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs 80903

$50-100 per plate

A surf-and-turf pairing from the MacKenzie’s

Photos submitted by The Famous. Photos submitted by Prime 25. menu. Photo submitted by MacKenzie’s Chophouse .


Boasting on its website that it serves the best Waygu beef available in the U.S., La Taverne sources from Eagles Nest Ranch in Elbert County (and their antibiotic- and growth hormone-free diet). Add legendary seafood options, freshly baked bread, and an extensive wine list and the reservation recommendation becomes understandable.

1 Lake Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80906

$25-75 per plate


For casual, classic American cuisine with a western flair, visit Cowboy Star. This restaurant serves locally grown produce and Certified Humane Angus beef, with natural and organic ingredients. Try the Wagyu or bison steak. This is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a good time.

5198 N. Nevada Ave. #150, Colorado Springs 80918

$50-100 per plate


Contemporary and Tuscan-inspired, the Steakhouse at Flying Horse is great for business meetings, family events and date nights. Delicious appetizers, craft cocktails and indulgent desserts always deliver a fantastic experience.

1880 Weiskopf Point, Colorado Springs 80921

$50-100 per plate


This Palmer Lake gem is the ideal laid-back, neighborhood restaurant. A charming place that’s open on all holidays so those without family have a place to go, and they strive to be a place that knows everyone by name. Serving hand-cut fries, cut-to-order rib-eye and New York steaks as well as prime rib every Monday night.

104 CO-105, Palmer Lake 80133

$10-20 per plate


What makes The Peppertree Restaurant unique is the table-side preparation of steak, and panoramic views of downtown Colorado Springs. This local gem boasts over 40 years of incredible service since its opening in 1983. Check out their extensive wine list and try the famous Pepper Tree steak!

*Expected to reopen April 2 after an extensive remodel.

888 W. Moreno Ave., Colorado Springs 80905 $100+ per plate

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Passionate Planting to Save the Bees for Pollinators

As you’re planning your garden this season, you’ll likely be looking for plants that are easy to care for and attractive. Melody Daugherty requests that you add pollinatorfriendly to those criteria.

Daugherty, who heads the Manitou Springs Pollinator District, says there are lots of benefits to using pollinator-friendly, native plants in your garden. They take less water, require little or no maintenance and thrive in poor soils.

Plants like chocolate flower, Rocky Mountain penstemon and bee balm are easy to grow and showy in the garden, says Billy Richard, nursery manager at Rick’s Garden Center, who is developing a new soil mix that pleases native species.

“One of the most common mistakes I see people make is that they over-amend, because that’s what we’re taught is a classical gardening thing,” Richard says.

While many of the plants we love in our gardens need to have enriched soil, “when you try to plant natives into that, some of them keel right over,” Daugherty says. Even in enriched soil, plants like peonies suffer because of increasing temperatures and drought conditions, which can make them abort their flowers.

Protecting Pollinators

What makes native species so important is that pollinators depend on them. To make this point, Daugherty says, “One out of every three bites of food we eat is a direct result of pollination.”

The Colorado Native Pollinating Insects Health Study, released in January of this year, found that Colorado has a rich community of native pollinating insects, including 1,000 species of bees and 300 species of butterflies. But loss of habitat, pesticides, non-native species and climate change are threatening pollinator insects, and some 40% of species are considered in decline, the study found. Among those of concern are Colorado’s 24 species of bumble bees. Creating habitat in urban and residential areas is one of the key actions the study recommends.

Daugherty and Manitouan Beth Chorpenning founded Manitou Pollinators after learning about a catastrophic bee colony collapse along the Front Range in 2018. Daugherty facilitated an agreement with the Butterfly Pavilion in Denver, which certified Manitou as the state’s first pollinator district last year.

The pollinator district is confined to Manitou, Chorpenning says, but pollinators don’t recognize boundaries. So Daugherty has been reaching out to spread the word about the pollinators’ plight. Several other municipalities along the Front Range are working to become pollinator districts, and the Pueblo County Extension Office is a Southern Colorado gem for knowledge and efforts to protect pollinators, she says.

Organizations like the Colorado Native Plant Society and Front Range Wild Ones are also sources of information about native plants and seeds, and you can see examples of native species at the Colorado Springs Utilities demonstration gardens, at 2855 Mesa Road and 3920 Dublin Blvd.


Pollinator Gardening

Besides choosing pollinator-friendly plants and not using chemicals, Daugherty says gardeners can help the species by leaving leaves and plant stems in place over the winter — that’s where pollinators lay their eggs. Pile up spring cuttings and leave them in place until they hatch.

“Talk with your neighbors,” she says. “Come together to make sure there are some swaths for pollinators to come in and land.” You don’t even need a garden — a few potted plants can help.

More than 2,000 native species exist in Colorado, Richard says. “These plants have existed on this continent for millennia. They’ve evolved together with their pollinator helpers.” Not all these plants are pretty to look at, but there are more than 200 species that gardeners might want to consider, he says.

Since last year, Richard has been experimenting to help gardeners facilitate the growth of native plants. He is heading the garden center’s Natives by Seed initiative, which aims to make native species more readily available in the Pikes Peak region.

Richard has been growing 12 native species in a medium composed of 70% crusher fines— a byproduct of gravel manufacturing — and 30% compost that provides the lean, free-draining conditions these plants like. The crusher fines, also called breeze, are readily available and dirt cheap, he says. The plants are growing in a greenhouse at the nursery and in an outdoor area Richard built that has typical native soil.

“These guys are thriving,” he says. “By the end of this season, we hope we will be able to say that these species are great, and you can grow them on basically nothing.”

Pollinator Plant List for Southern Colorado

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Horse Mint (Agastache urticifolia)

Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)

Rocky Mountain Columbine (Aquilegia coerulea)

Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrate)

Rocky Mountain Beeplant (Cleome serrulate)

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia aristate)

Desert Four o’Clock (Mirabilis multiflora)

Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa)

Palmer’s Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)

Rocky Mountain Penstemon (Penstemon strictus)

Mexican Hat (Ratibida columnifera)

Source: Melody Daugherty of the Manitou Springs Pollinator District

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Billy Richard holds a Rocky Mountain penstemon planted in a lean soil mix at Rick’s Garden Center

Over 20 years of award-winning, 5-star event catering in Colorado Springs


Events are meant to be unique and focused on the experience–your catering should be too. For two decades, our unmatched service and an all-inclusive offering has made Garden of the Gods Catering & Events synonymous with excellence in event planning and execution. Our team takes pride in crafting the perfect day for you and your guests. If you can dream it, we can create it.

Now Offering Texas-Style BBQ I Check Out Our New Seasonal Menus Online

Anyone Can Cook for You...But We Turn The Ordinary Into Extraordinary

For over twenty years, Garden of the Gods Catering has been a pillar of culinary innovation and unparalleled service in the Colorado Springs community. From humble beginnings, this catering company has evolved into a one-stop shop for all event needs, offering numerous services under one roof, including catering, floral arrangements, and event spaces.

What sets Garden of the Gods Catering apart is our unwavering commitment to crafting new experiences daily. By focusing on continual innovation, we bring a fresh perspective to every event we touch. Our dedication to providing a personalized experience ensures that each client’s vision is brought to life with meticulous attention to detail.

One of Garden of the Gods Catering’s hallmarks is our all-inclusive offering. Clients can enjoy the convenience of having everything they need for their event sourced from a single vendor, from stunning floral arrangements to delectable menus crafted from real, fresh ingredients. This unique approach transforms event planning from a stressful endeavor into a seamless and enjoyable process.

Recently, Garden of the Gods Catering has introduced Texas-style BBQ to our menu, adding a bold and flavorful option that reflects our commitment to innovation and diversity. Drawing inspiration from the vibrant culinary scenes of big cities, we infuse their dishes with tantalizing flavors that leave guests craving more.

However, Garden of the Gods Catering is not just about the food and decor; it’s about the personalized service that sets it apart. Our team goes above and beyond to ensure that each client feels valued and heard, creating an atmosphere of trust and collaboration that is unmatched in the industry.

As Garden of the Gods Catering celebrates over two decades of excellence, we remain dedicated to pushing boundaries and exceeding expectations. Our commitment to providing a unique and unforgettable experience for every client underscores our status as a leader in the catering industry. For those seeking a partner to elevate their events to new heights, Garden of the Gods Catering stands ready to deliver an exceptional experience.

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9633 Prominent Point I Colorado Springs, CO 80924 I WEBSITE SAMPLE MENUS
Now featuring new Texas-style BBQ

The Making of My She-Shed

After seven months of not being able to sell my outdoor shed, I stood in my yard and took a long look at the shell that it was. As a designer, very few spaces intimidate me. But I gasped at all of the junk that I’d accumulated here. And then I began purging. Some things went away completely, the rest of the items I moved to my barn. The fire in me had finally caught and I knew this 12x10 space could be great!

First, I sat down and made a list of everything I wanted for the space. I closed my eyes and imagined what type of space this could be if I gave it some creative muscle.

I drew sketches and dreamed. When I had a plan, I used my jeep to wench the shed into a more appealing space, nearer the house and its electrical panel. Then, on a rainy June day, I called my electrician; and so it began. My little oasis was being birthed!

Once the electrical was complete, I purchased insulation, drywall, drywall screws and tape, lumber, plexiglass for my door windows, and two double-pane windows. I looked through my stash of previous project leftovers and was ecstatic to find I had what I needed to finish this drab shed into a cozy little retreat!


I spent some time online, watching videos to learn how to do a few things. I even found some pecan flooring left over from another project, so I installed that. I purchased some inexpensive fence pickets to serve as my wood accent wall. I troweled thin set on one wall to create a warm, textured feature. There was some furniture I’d put in storage, so I used that too.

In the dumpster of a local custom home builder, I found some lumber to build a front deck. Three weeks and $1,100 later, I lit the candles and sat back in my perfect little oasis. It was exactly what I wanted. Now this space serves as a podcast studio, guest quarters and, in warmer months, an Airbnb.

Are your wheels turning yet? Think of the she-shed as a personal space that inspires growth; whatever that means to you. I’ve seen sheds turned into spa spaces, complete with massage table and water feature. Some became office spaces, recording studios, crafting rooms, Airbnbs, guest quarters, gyms or yoga studios. It could even be a space to host your business – for a hair salon, counseling, physical therapy…the opportunities are really endless!

So where do you start? First, make sure your neighborhood and home owners association allow them. If you have one already, let the fun begin! But if you need to purchase one, try looking at used as well as new. Search online for small, local shed companies. Larger stores like Lowes and Home Depot also sell them. Wherever you purchase it, make sure you coordinate delivery and exact placement of your shed. Some companies will include that cost, others will charge for the service.

Next, determine how you’re going to use the space. If you’re going to do the work yourself, you will save a lot of money. If

you’re not, then find a good contractor and make sure you pull the necessary permits, especially if you add water and/or electricity to your shed. Make a list of everything you need for this project. And don’t forget to create a budget and timeline — and stick to it. That will alleviate some surprises and keep your stress in check!

Then you can look forward to the day when you will sit back and relax in your own space. Happy Shedding!!

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Top: Carriann’s She-Shed before taking on the project of turning it into a cozy little retreat. Right: After transformation of the She-Shed.


Mother’s Day is an opportunity for us to celebrate the women who formed us, whether they be a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, or anyone who has stepped into a mother’s role in our lives. Here are some ideas for gifts that create an experience, and opportunity for quality time and something a little different.


Cooking Classes at The French Kitchen

For the foodie mom, treat her to a cooking class at The French Kitchen! They offer a wide variety of options for beginners to more advanced cooks, all taught by experienced professionals.

4771 N. Academy Blvd., Colorado Springs 80918 Classes range from $89-$259.

Art Classes at Cottonwood Center for the Arts

For the artistic mom, help her rekindle or grow her passion for creating with the help of Cottonwood Center for the Arts. Available classes include drawing, pottery, writing, digital art and more. You can gift a class or purchase a gift card.

427 E Colorado Ave, Colorado Springs 80903

All photos courtesy of the respective businesses.

Wine & Spirits Tasting Classes with The Parlor

If she enjoys fine wine, take her to a wine-tasting class held by The Parlor. The Parlor offers the option of private classes for up to 24 people, or you can enjoy one of their public wine class offerings.

4771 N. Academy Blvd., Colorado Springs 80918

Public classes are $35

Dragonfly Paddle Board Yoga

If she’s athletic or loves the outdoors, treat her to paddle board yoga classes! Attendees soak up the sun and water while practicing yoga. A season pass is $295 and includes 20 classes, $5 off special classes, coupons and a choice of a free tank top or dry bag. Locations include Quail Lake, Prospect Lake, Lake Granby, and more

Various locations

Gardening Classes & Workshops at Phelan Gardens

For green thumbs and aspiring green thumbs, the Phelan Gardens is the place to be. Learn more about native Colorado plants, growing fruit, structuring your garden and more.

4955 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., Colorado Springs 80918

Classes and workshops range from $15-$35.


Mining Exchange Spa

The Mining Exchange is a historic, restored hotel in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs that offers luxury spa services. Their offerings include signature packages, hair and nail services, waxing, skin care, gift certificates and more.

8 S. Nevada Ave., Colorado Springs 80903

Alluvia Spa

Cheyenne Mountain Resort’s spa is a mountain sanctuary. Among their offerings are facials, massages, nail services and more. Treat mom to one of their packages and pamper her from head to toe! Gift cards are also available.

65 Clubhouse Dr., Colorado Springs 80906

SunWater Spa

Enjoy Manitou Springs’ breathtaking views while taking a relaxing soak in mineral-rich water. Book a hot tub for 90 minutes, which includes access to the sauna, cold plunge pool, and indoor saltwater pool, or treat mom to a spa treatment or gift card!

514 El Paso Blvd., Manitou Springs 80829

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Experiences & Outings

Season Tickets to the COS Philharmonic

Take mom out for a night at the philharmonic!

Featuring multiple performances per season. Enjoy the Masterworks, Pops and Signature performances by the talented musicians of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.

Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts, 190 S. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs 80903

Individual tickets start at $31, and multiple-ticket packages start at $144.

Manitou Winery

The Manitou Winery blends, ferments and bottles all of their wine in house. They offer tastings, live music, private events, bottling parties, wine club memberships and more.

934 Manitou Ave. Suite 108, Manitou Springs 80829

Custom tastings include a flight of four wines, plus a keepsake glass, for $12 per person.

Bad Axe Throwing

For the moms who are sporty and up for an unconventional good time, Bad Axe Throwing would make the perfect outing. This Canadian-originated pastime is a great way to spend time with mom. Bad Axe provides all the necessary equipment, and you can reserve a session or purchase a gift card.

3536 N. Academy Blvd., Colorado Springs 80917

Lemon Lodge Ski Bar

Lemon Lodge Ski Bar is for the adventurous, snow-sport-loving mom. Open to beginners and experts, visitors can ski or snowboard on their Olympic-caliber simulator. Owner Melanie Hexter is a mother of six, and Lemon Lodge was born from a conversation with her family over dinner. At the official tasting room of Evergood Adventure Wines, patrons can enjoy wine cocktails, shandies and delicious food.

111 E. Pikes Peak Ave., Colorado Springs 80903

Tea at a Castle

High tea creates a memorable and elegant experience. Glen Eyrie Castle offers tea in a beautiful castle built by William Palmer, founder of Colorado Springs. Hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Miramont Castle is another historic castle located in Manitou Springs. Tea is served from Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Reservations are required for both locations.

Glen Eyrie Castle

3820 N. 30th St., Colorado Springs 80904

$36 per person

Miramont Castle

9 Capitol Hill Ave., Manitou Springs 80829

$35-$45 per person



Kelly Kimple is a Colorado Springs local, mother of two and CEO of Adventures in Good Company (AGC), an adventure organization dedicated to guiding communities of women through worldwide travel experiences. Since 1999, AGC has provided transformative trips for female thrill-seekers while maintaining a fullfemale staff of coordinators and guides.

Being a mother is a full-time job, so finding success and balance as a CEO and entrepreneur requires much drive and dedication. Kimple combines her passions for her family and business by fostering female empowerment and connectivity while paving the way for future generations to follow suit. Specifically, she is determined to create an enriching culture of opportunity and inclusivity for her 11-year-old daughter. Her experience as a mother serves as a source of strength and a driving force for achieving professional success.

The AGC website highlights several core values: good care, good company, continuous learning and embracing adventure. The site reads, “We are a community of women with adventurous spirits who support each other and relish time together in the outdoors.” They offer international and domestic destinations with flexible activity levels to create a personal adventure experience for their guests.

For more information:

Aventures in Good Company website at

Hallmarks of Service

Community & Country to

Bill Hybl’s Humanity Immortalizes his Legacy

Looking at the lengthy list of accomplishments, leadership roles and community service next to the name William J. Hybl, it’s hard to imagine one person could do so much in eight decades of a life. Yet, with a firm handshake and sincere smile, that sparkle in his eye gives the impression that humility and humor are in his formula for success.

Asked about the origins of his family and the unusual spelling of Hybl, he laughs, “My family were humble tailors from Prague…we couldn’t afford vowels!”

Far from Prague, Hybl grew up in Pueblo, Colo., after moving there with his parents as a very young child.

“My dad was in the Navy. After he got out of the service he became a Maytag salesman, eventually ending up as the regional manager of Southern Colorado into northern New Mexico,” says Hybl.

Proud of his hometown of Pueblo, Hybl describes the community as tightknit — one where people helped each other. “After my parents had me, they adopted my brother who had Huntington’s Disease,” Hybl notes. “It was a joy and a challenge for all of us, but that’s who my parents were; and I believe that set the path for me in my life as well.”

“I graduated from Pueblo Central and ended up at Colorado College,” says Hybl. “I give my mother a great deal of credit for my early life decisions — she knew her son well and what she said went.” Plus, Hybl says that running home for weekends to get his laundry done didn’t hurt.


Hybl always knew he wanted to contribute, to make a difference in the world. Before graduating with a political science degree from CC, he was president of his fraternity and president of the college’s Interfraternity Council — he enjoyed the inner workings of those college organizations. Because he had ambitions to run for political office, he decided a law degree made the most sense.

After CC, Hybl headed to Boulder to study law at CU. “I still love the Socratic method of learning, and those analytical skills I achieved in law school have helped me in all of my major career and personal decisions.”

“CU helped shape my life in many ways especially since I met the love of my life, Kathy at law school. We were married for 56 years, until she passed last year,” he says softly.

Hybl speaks almost reverentially of his wife: “She was the glue that held our family together, especially in the early days. Our parents were beside themselves when we told them she was flying over to Ethiopia where I was stationed with the Army Security Agency and she was six months pregnant with our first son. But we wanted to be together.”

B.J. Hybl was born in Ethiopia and, after Hybl’s 18-month stint, the young family came back to Colorado Springs. Bill was offered a job as a deputy district attorney,

later becoming assistant DA at the youthful age of 27. “I was always good at pushing paper around,” he laughs.

But, as time went on, he realized how big the job was and how much he was learning. He decided he was ready to run for the Colorado Legislature in House District 18. He won and was on his way to achieving his dream of political office. But, as sometimes happens, Hybl was nudged in a different direction.

“It’s something I’ve often thought about — leaving my term after only one year of two,” admits Hybl. “But I knew, and still know, it was the right decision for my family. I was away too much and by now Kathy and I had two young sons. I believe my community benefited as much from that decision as my family.”

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Bill and Kathy Hybl’s legacy through family. Studio 9 Commercial Photography.
by the Hybl family. Two of Bill Hybl’s favorite mementos include his General Douglas MacArthur Award, given to an individual who has exhibited exemplary service to the USOPC, along with the inaugural first pitch softball (which he threw) for inclusion of Women’s Softball at the Sydney Summer Games.

Hybl left the legislature to work for his mentor, Ben Wendelken, who was general counsel for The Broadmoor and El Pomar Foundation, and had served as personal attorney for Julie and Spencer Penrose, who established the foundation. And so began a lifetime of service to Colorado Springs, the state of Colorado and the country, through his work with El Pomar and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC).

Even though Hybl was then firmly entrenched in the community running El Pomar Foundation and working with The Broadmoor, he still was able to “dabble” in politics.

“It was an interesting time in the 1980s when I was named special counsel to President Ronald Reagan,” remembers Hybl. “Karl Eitel was running The Broadmoor and he told me we needed a voice for hotels in Reagan’s new administration. So, off I went to Washington, D.C. for just about four and a half months.”

While serving in this unique position, Hybl was asked to attend the first round of the French Presidential Election to represent President Reagan.

“It was quite an experience,” explains Hybl. “Specifically, because President Reagan was shot just prior to my leaving for Paris. The French politicians kept asking me how the President was doing. Since I had no direct information from D.C., I just kept reading the papers and reporting back the news reports!”

The 1980s and ‘90s brought a lot of work for Hybl in the sports arena — specifically the Olympics. He was the president of the USOPC from 1991-92, the last year the summer and winter Olympic games were hosted in the same year (Barcelona, Spain and Albertville, France).

“After I filled in for that year, I was later elected president of the USOPC from 1996 to 2000,” says Hybl.

“My entire family loved going to Nagano, Japan. Then, Sydney was a magical experience for our family...We won the medal count in Sydney, and the weather and the wins never got old,” he smiles.

“In the realm of my time with the USOPC, I think the 1998 Seoul Olympics helped with one of my biggest contributions to my community,” he notes.

“Unfortunately, I had a stroke during the Games and had to be medevacked out of the country. I had a doctor and two attendants with me trying to keep me alive until I got to San Francisco. Luckily, I survived, but it turned my thinking to others who didn’t even have basic care.”

After his recovery, Hybl contacted his friend and colleague Catholic Bishop Richard Hanifen and his own doctor, Jim Smith, to ask what El Pomar could do to assist the underserved in healthcare. This inquiry led to significant support that allowed Peak Vista Community Health Centers grow exponentially.

A small, but mighty clinic on Wasatch Street that served 4,000 to 5,000 people a year grew to 22 locations managing nearly 300,000 visits per year, and Hybl says, “providing people healthcare with dignity.”

This is just one example Hybl cites of what the institution he ran for more than 30 years has done for the Colorado Springs community. “I’m proud of how much we grew El Pomar from 1973 to today,” he says. “We went from about $75 million in assets to nearly $700 million — with over $737 million in grants and program contributions.”

That translates to $1.4 billion in total impact for the people of Colorado. And with that growth came a misconception that Hybl feels people have about his career.

Bill and Kathy Hybl with President Ronald Reagan in 1986. Bill served as Special Counsel in Reagan’s administration representing the hotel industry. Bill Hybl runs with the Olympic torch from the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.
“Providing people healthcare with dignity.”

“People on the outside of El Pomar Foundation think I have this easy job — I just give away money all day to nonprofits,” explains Hybl. “But I’ve agonized many times over the years about making the right decisions — being fiscally responsible with these dollars and not just doing what I think is the right thing.”

Hybl says that, to that end, he surrounded himself early on with associates who were smart and not afraid to speak their minds — even if it countered what the boss said. “I think good leaders know how to hire to their weaknesses. Then you must listen, and be willing to accept those suggestions,” he says.

He has seen many changes over the years in the community he calls home, and Hybl has some advice for community leaders as the city continues to grow and change.

“Be respectful of all viewpoints,” he says. “But pull the wagon in the same direction. Controversy will go up and down, but reaching common ground for the good of the community is the goal. I believe former Mayor Suthers

did this wonderfully for eight years and I see the same type of spirit in Mayor Yemi.”

At 81, Hybl keeps his hand in the community of Colorado Springs, and the world community as well. He is chair emeritus and charter member of the board of Trustees of El Pomar Foundation, after serving 46 years as executive director and 34 of those as chair and, later, CEO.

Hybl is humble about his awards, accolades and accomplishments, but immensely proud of his family. And he credits his wife, Kathy, for the success of their family.

“I was working a lot and I believe Kathy had more of the formula than I did for raising two wonderful sons, who are both successful in their own rights. Plus, we were blessed with two amazing daughters-in-law who serve their community as well — Sally and Kristel,” notes Hybl. “I do believe Kathy and I passed on our philosophy to our children and our six grandchildren — Logan, Jack, Mallory, Emma, Liam, and Aiden — when you are successful, it is truly your obligation to help others.”

A snapshot of some of Bill Hybl’s accolades & accomplishments:

� Current chair of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Endowment and president emeritus of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee

� U.S. Commission on Public Diplomacy, appointed by President George W. Bush and reappointed by President Barack Obama, 2008 – 2016 [Hybl currently serves as vice chair]

� U.S Representative to the United Nations

� Air Force Academy Foundation

� The Hundred Club of Colorado Springs

� Colorado College Board of Trustees

� Junior Achievement National Board of Directors

� Colorado Business Hall of Fame inductee

� Colorado Springs Lifetime Achievement Award 2020

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Bill Hybl speaks at the United Nations. Photos submitted by the Hybl family.

Keep Looking for the Light

Faith Hobbs, a senior at Discovery Canyon Campus High School, is a self-described Harry Potter nerd, and there’s a quote in the series that gives her strength. “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

In fact, Hobbs radiates her own bright energy. She works two jobs, one at the restaurant I Heart Mac & Cheese and another at the art studio AR Workshop. She’s active in her Young Life youth group and joined the DCC cheerleading team as a senior. She also volunteers with her mother and sister through the National Charity League.

“I’m here to serve,” Hobbs says. “I’ve learned to put my heart out there and to put someone other than myself first.”

Hobbs splits her day between high school and culinary classes at Pikes Peak State College. “For me, that’s my art,” she claims. “I lose myself in cooking food. I love putting smiles on people’s faces and seeing how they react.” Cooking is her passion, but her dream is a career where she can serve her

community: training dogs in the police force.

Circling back to the Harry Potter quote, Hobbs says sometimes she has to remind herself there’s happiness to look forward to because she struggles with depression and anxiety. She spent nine years in the foster care system, until she was adopted at age 10. She survived abusive homes where she was told she wasn’t wanted. She says dealing with that trauma made her the person she is.

“I had to be a grown-up and fend for myself.” She credits her family with giving her the support and understanding she needs to thrive. “They are the best family I could have asked for,” Hobbs says. “They’ve helped me grow into a very mature person and avoid the victim mentality.” Hobbs believes that a lot of kids in America struggle with mental health, and she wants them to know they’re not alone. “You’re not by yourself. There is always someone you can reach out to.”

She urges those who are struggling to talk to friends, family, a school counselor or even to write down their thoughts. She has learned to keep looking for the light, and because of her determination and the support of her family, her future looks very bright indeed.

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Faith (left) and her family.

Community Unites After Devastating Fire From Ashes to Action

When a devastating fire swept through the Downtown vicinity of Bijou Street and Cascade Avenue on December 4, 2023, it left a trail of destruction in its wake. One that impacted the lives of several local business owners and their team members.

Flames first erupted in Taste of Jerusalem Café, a cherished restaurant and long-time community favorite. Colorado Springs Fire Department deemed it a threealarm incident which was reported around 9:45 am. CSFD later determined the cause to be an electrical issue with a refrigeration appliance. The blaze posed serious challenges to neighboring businesses, largely because of the building’s construction and age.

“The way that these buildings are built, there are some voids in between the floor,” Ashley Franco of CSFD explains, describing how the fire traveled so quickly. She says the smoke could move through the air gaps quickly and easily, reaching other businesses in the building in minutes.

All of those businesses have faced significant setbacks since the fire, grappling with the loss of property, livelihoods and cherished memories. In the face of this adversity, local business owners have come together to lend a helping hand.

Yobel, a beloved ethical and eco-friendly clothing boutique, was situated immediately next to Taste of Jerusalem. Since its founding in 2008, Yobel has been a beacon of conscientious fashion, offering handmade goods sourced both locally and globally, all produced under fair and livable conditions. Emily Ross and her husband took over the storefront in 2019. Four years later, they anticipated December sales to finish the holiday season like normal. Instead, Emily rushed to the storefront to find their cherished space engulfed in smoke, with merchandise covered in soot and precious artwork destroyed. Yobel is now selling gift cards online while the couple regroups and plans their next steps.

“We’re so grateful for the downtown businesses we’re neighbors with, like Novis Mortem Collective, Eclectic Co., MST Goods, and Terra Verde,” says Ross. “They all immediately offered space in their shops for us to popup in.” Yobel plans to reopen soon, possibly in a new Downtown location.

The fire struck at approximately 10 a.m. on December 4, 2023.

Local Honey Collective, a popular women’s clothing store located nextdoor to Yobel, was another affected business. Local Honey Collective has always been a safe space, committed to empowering women through flexible and affordable fashion.

The news of the fire came as a shock to all. “It was pretty devastating,” says Cara McQueeney, who owns the business with Hailey Sardi. “We lost our home for our business...we are heartbroken.”

With smoke severely damaging all of their products, the store had no choice but to initiate — wait for it — a fire sale in January to clear out slightly damaged inventory. Now, the Collective is in the midst of rebuilding from scratch, currently operating primarily online. They recently announced their temporary location at The Meanwhile Block on 425 South Sierra Madre Street, with plans to reopen officially this spring.

At the end of the commercial block, the damage also reached ICONS, described as “that gay bar with the singing bartenders.” Their goal has always been to provide a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ and ally community in Colorado Springs. Co-owners and partners, John Wolfe and Josh Franklin, opened Icons in October 2020.

Since closing the doors, Icons has hosted community events at several neighboring businesses, such as concert series, drag shows, trivia nights and bingo. This way, Wolfe and Franklin can continue supporting their staff — their top priority — as well as raise money to revive the bar.

Their goal is to reopen by end of summer at a new location. Franklin organized a fundraiser on GoFundMe with a goal of $75,000. As of mid-March, over 300 people have made donations, raising approximately $30,700.

“We are most concerned with keeping the soul of the place, which we think is the people,” Wolfe says. “We have faith that our people will come back when we reopen!”

The road to recovery has been a rocky one for these businesses, but the outpouring of support from the local community is a source of strength. “Colorado Springs is so unique in the way that small businesses support each other,” McQueeney says. “From the day of the fire to today, we have felt so supported; the community is really driving us.”

Beloved businesses may have been destroyed, but the spirit of community shines brighter than ever.

Downtown Partnerships set up a webpage with information about how to support all of the businesses in the affected building. Visit:


The Local Honey Collective announced a new brick-and-mortar location, The Shoppe. Find their goods alongside vendors Idyll Manor and Kamp Goods at 425 S. Sierra Nevada, beginning in April.

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Cara McQueeney and Hailey Sardi, owners of Local Honey Collective. Josh Franklin, left, and John Wolfe, owners, in the ICONS bar before the devastating fire. The Yobel storefront prior to the devastating downtown fire.
Elevate Your Business Identity, Sophistication & Style Speaks Volumes 719.661.4470 Colorado Springs


This year, the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs (COS) is celebrating a huge anniversary after 40 years of operation. COS describes itself as embodying “out-of-the-box repertoire, creative programming and partnerships.”


“What we mean when we say out of the box is that we aren’t just going to play the top 40 of classical pieces,” explains Thomas Wilson, the COS musical director who has been leading the orchestra for almost three decades. “I think orchestras can get in a rut and just think people will show up for the standards. I think audiences are smarter than that. The performances must be deeper and more interesting.”

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After their first concert in 1983, a group of retired professional and amateur musicians in the Pikes Peak region founded the COS, later turning it into a 501(c)(3) in 1984. COS found its home for many years at the First Christian Church in downtown Colorado Springs and the Broadmoor Community Church.


Today, COS offers a six-concert subscriber series in multiple locations around Colorado Springs, and it is now expanding north with most of its 2024-25 season to be hosted at the Ent Center for the Arts. With a staunch focus on community, COS concerts frequently highlight local soloists and composers.

In addition, the COS engages in collaborative performances with various community arts organizations, such as the Colorado Springs Conservatory, Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble, Opera Theatre of the Rockies, Theatreworks, the Colorado Springs Chorale, Pikes Peak Library and more.

collaboration with the Ent Center. “We’ve had our eye on that space since before it was even finished,” he explains. “To finally be able to make this commitment to our audience on the north side speaks volumes about the leadership of our board, and Thomas.”


Wilson notes that COVID made COS stronger. “We were one of the few organizations of our type that played our season, albeit recorded, and paid everyone — even the winds and brass who couldn’t play because they couldn’t wear masks!”

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Affordability is something that sets COS apart from other arts organizations. Ticket prices range from $10$35. The group also has a no-questions-asked, pay-whatyou-can affordability policy for those who need it. As a 501(c)(3), COS is funded mostly by donations, institutional grants, season-long subscriptions and ticket sales.

“We’ve won four awards from the National Endowment for the Arts in the last seven years,” notes Jacob Pope, executive director of COS. He is in his second season here and is excited about the new

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“We’re proud of what we’ve built in the last 40 years and people are taking notice outside of Colorado Springs,” notes Wilson. “COS is one of those rare orchestras who record everything we do — we have our own YouTube channel. The Philadelphia Orchestra saw one of our pieces that I arranged and they are performing it in their own series.”

Colorado Springs, 80921 (719) 358-9208


Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of COS during their new season by visiting and check out their YouTube channel @chamberorchestraofthesprings

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Tearful 8-year-old turned Women’s Boxing Force

Jajaira Gonzalez is Paris-Bound

ajaira Gonzalez is a force to be reckoned with on the international stage of women’s boxing. This summer, she’ll don the stars-and-stripes and look for the podium’s top step in the 60-kilogram weight class at the Paris Olympic Games.

As a young boxer, Gonzalez dominated junior and youth ranks. It came naturally to the Glendora, Calif. native who was raised in a large family amongst brothers who also boxed.

“My dad just came home with the crazy idea one day when I was eight years old that I was gonna box,” recalls the now 27-year-old. “I started crying.”

She has come a long way since that tearful third-grade year. Now bound for Paris, Gonzalez has her eye on the gold and the mindset to achieve it. She loves the beauty of the sport, never underestimates any opponent, takes things one fight at a time, and remains focused through reading and music.

Being one of only a handful of young girls in boxing, Gonzalez

didn’t exactly get many fighting opportunities at first.

“I would go to shows and try to get a fight and I’d be the only one that wouldn’t get a fight. I used to hate that because I’d be feeling like I’m wasting my time,” she says. “Once I started to compete, I was dominating; and I was like ‘OK, I like beating people up.’”

Once she made the junior national team, she started traveling and winning gold medals at international tournaments. It wasn’t long before the prodigy won three consecutive junior world titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Gonzalez was the next big thing in women’s boxing, but her story would take a turn.

A toxic personal relationship left the champion feeling drained, depressed, and unmotivated. In 2018 she stepped away from competition and instead put her energy into her relationship and a new career as a kickboxing instructor. Several years went by before the spark returned.

“I’m checking people in and out of the gym and I remember being on

Instagram and seeing USA Boxing in Spain. I’ve always wanted to go to Spain. I remember seeing a few of the girls on the team competing out there. I had beat them. I started thinking I should be there and what am I doing here?”

With the wisdom gained not only from victories and losses, but also from a years-long break, Gonzalez made her comeback in 2021 with a national title. She followed it up by punching her ticket to Paris with bronze at the 2023 Pan American Games.

Her first fight in Paris will be July 26, and hopefully Team USA fans will see her make it all the way to the finals, which are slated for Aug. 6. Check out for more Team USA Boxing news as the Games get closer.


As far as the competition goes, Gonzalez says she’ll have to face the defending Olympic champion and the silver medalist, from Ireland and Brazil, respectively.

“But overall, I feel the only person standing in my way is me,” she says. “I just gotta stay focused and dedicated and just work a little harder and perfect my mistakes and I know that gold medal is mine.”

Gonzalez aims to compete professionally after the Games, but don’t be surprised to find this grounded woman in a position of service once her boxing days come to an end. Stemming in part from love for her youngest brother who has cerebral palsy, Gonzalez has always had a helper’s heart.

“I have little girls who look up to me, and their fathers will hit me up on their Instagram and ask me what do you think she should do? What advice can you give her?”

Gonzalez says it’s motivating to offer advice to younger girls. The message she’d like to give them is that losing isn’t always losing.

“You’re not going to win all the time,” Gonzalez says. “Just as long as you don’t let that loss be a loss, you have to learn from it. Once I learned how to move through that, the blessings just started coming in.”

NORTH April/May 2024 43
Jajaira punched her ticket to Paris at the Pan Am Games last October.

The Library

Seating up to 25 people

Challenging the Stereotype at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide

Last December, 10 gray wolves were released in Grand and Summit counties after the 2020 approval of Proposition 114, showcasing Colorado’s dedication to endangered wildlife and conservation.

Despite their ecological value, wolves have a bad rap for being dangerous creatures. That’s why — until now — Colorado hasn’t shared its landscape with these animals since the last one was killed in the 1940s. The elusive canids were almost entirely eliminated from the lower 48 states before the conservation statutes of the modern environmental era.

Whether you learned to fear wolves from folktales like Little Red Riding Hood and The Boy Who Cried Wolf, or from more modern werewolf characters in Harry Potter or Twilight — chances are you didn’t glimpse a fair portrayal of this misunderstood species.


“They’re actually incredibly social, emotionally complex and highly intelligent animals, and they’re also ecologically necessary for the ecosystems they exist in,” says Emilee Kaudill, an animal educator at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide.

One of only a few sanctuaries in the U.S. — and the only one in Colorado — certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the center gives visitors a closeup look at wolves, supporting its mission to educate, conserve and preserve.

As the tours wind past Mexican gray wolves, arctic wolves and more, visitors receive both education and entertainment. Many of the animals come to the edge of

Emilee Kaudill is a wildlife advocate and animal educator at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center.

the Big Bad Wolf

wolves back on the landscape. They naturally belong here in Colorado, pretty much from the time she started this 31 years ago.”

their enclosures to greet visitors and receive snacks, and even the standard tour features a group howl which the wolves will most certainly join in on.

Kaudill says the center’s tours give people a better idea of what wolves are really like, providing an incentive to protect conservation efforts.

“I learned wolves are actually pretty nice and you probably won’t see one when you’re hiking,” says nineyear-old Brooklyn, while visiting the center.

Her grandmother, Susy, says she loved learning that wolves mate for life and “I also found it interesting that they’re inclined to steer away from humans, which removes the fear element for me.”

For a more immersive experience, adult wolf-lovers can sign up to interact with the canids inside the enclosures. There are also tours specially coordinated around the full moon, kids, photography and feeding.


Wolves play a crucial role as apex predators and a keystone species. They keep their ecosystems healthy by limiting elk and deer populations, hunting the sick, old and weak.

Kaudill says the sanctuary has always petitioned and educated about the true stakes of a world without wolves.

“Our founder, Darlene, had really been trying to get

In 1993, Darlene Kobobel rescued a wolf-dog named Chinook who was destined for euthanasia. She overcame her childhood fear of wolves to develop a soft spot for the gentle creature. Eventually, she found herself operating a wolf-hybrid rescue which has since evolved into what the Wolf and Wildlife Center is today — a 35-acre educational facility and sanctuary located off of Highway 24 in Divide, CO. Presently, the center is home to 20 wolves, six foxes, two coyotes, one “coydog” (a coyote-dog hybrid), and two New Guinea Singing dogs.


“The role we’re playing now is what we can actively do to help protect them, what legislation might need to change in order to keep our animals, our wolves in particular, safe here in Colorado,” Kaudill says.

The reintroduction is going well, but it is difficult to determine how large the state’s wolf population will become due to the urbanization and growth Colorado has experienced since it last established a true population count.

“The reintroduction is being done in phases, starting nice and slow with those ten wolves. Eventually we’ll get up to about 30 or 50, a couple of hundred, just according to the phases of the reintroduction plan,” says Kaudill.

Get more information, support wolf conservation through donations or book tours at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center website:

NORTH April/May 2024 47 ?
The sanctuary’s wolves often come to the fence to say hello to passing visitors. Rules and regulations keep visitors and residents happy at the wildlife sanctuary.




The larger kitchen at the new location: 1 South Nevada, allows Opus to prepare to open a second location at the El Paso County Citizen Service Center at 1675 Garden of the Gods Road.

“ We’ll be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, working to develop new shows and host community-wide events,” said Linda Weise, CEO of Opus. “We really want this to be students connecting with the community through the workforce programs — something that we all need in the wake of the pandemic. Students will be interfacing as people come together, have business meetings, a meal, enjoy music or a show.”

Weise envisions the culinary staff creating food and menus for events, while the media arts workforce group films, directs and provides other creative direction for music, plays, speaker sessions, luncheons, and other community functions. The media arts program is set to start training its first classes in March.

The playgroups, in partnership with Joint Initiatives, have already moved to the Nevada site, and the teacher-training classes are there as well. More than 100 children, ages 0-5 years old, attend the playgroup. Simple Gift Schoolhouse also includes a web-based 30-minute show and a series of 39 books.


“This is the perfect location for the program,” she said. “It has enough space, a dedicated kitchen, the opportunity to grow the creative tech program and host Early Childhood activities. We’re going to make big things happen.”

Weise credits El Paso County, the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, and El Paso Public Health with helping to create the successful programs.

◀ Linda Weise - CEO and Founder of Opus Creative Industries

“ This is about wellness, it’s about ending isolation,” she says. “And we couldn’t do it without the support. We’re expecting big things in 2024.”


Join us this spring!


Join us every other Wednesday for FREE Playgroups in partnership with Joint Initiatives!

Based on the nationally televised children’s program Simple Gift Series, playgroups include music, movement, art, special guests, and snacks. Groups are for young children, birth to 5 years old, and their grandparents, parents, caregivers or favorite adult. Spanish speakers, homeschooled families, and children with disabilities are welcomed and embraced.

April 10th, April 24th, May 8th, May 22nd

Location: 1 S. Nevada Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80903 I 9:30 am – 11:00 am



Plus, a curated dinner with wine pairings.

May 10th

Location: 1 S. Nevada Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80903

PLUS, STAY TUNED FOR MORE EXCITING EVENTS: Including Early Childhood Enrichment Teacher Trainings, Opus Eats, Supper Clubs and more! Subscribe to our newsletter and visit our website to get event updates.

Learn more at

NORTH April/May 2024 49
up to date on our
upcoming events!



Pikes Peak was officially named in 1890. However, it had been known by a variety of names, including Tava “Sun Mountain” by the Utes, El Capitán by Spanish explorers, Grand Peak by Zebulon Pike and James Peak by admirers of Dr. Edwin James, the first man known to reach the summit. While named for Zebulon Pike, he never actually made it to the top, and believed no one ever would. Each year, the mountain welcomes around a million visitors.

Why is the “A” smaller in The Broadmoor logo? The official story is that it was necessary to trademark the name. While this is true, many locals believe it was also a slight aimed at town founder General William Jackson Palmer, who owned the Antlers Hotel and refused to sell to Spencer Penrose, presumably over his fondness for alcohol. Or, it may have been because Penrose once rode his horse into the Antlers lobby.

Although built as a burial site, there is no Will Rogers at the Will Rogers Shrine. It was nearing completion by Spencer Penrose in 1935 when his friend Will Rogers was tragically killed. Penrose offered it to the Rogers family for burial, but they declined. Penrose finished the site as a memorial to Rogers, a resting place for himself, wife and his two best friends, as well as a promotional attraction for his hotel.

Old Colorado City and Colorado Springs residents once had the option of riding in a carriage pulled by two bull elk. Prairie Dog O’Byrne operated this service in the late 1880s and was known for having a live prairie dog running in a wheel mounted on his carriage. The elk were named Thunder and Buttons, currently memorialized by an OCC bar of the same name.

Garden of the Gods got its name from a pair of German surveyors who were fascinated by the place’s beauty. One remarked that it would make a fine biergarten and the other responded that it was more fit to be a garden of the gods. The name stuck and was made permanent when the Charles Perkins family donated the initial 480 acres (currently 1341 acres) to Colorado Springs in 1909.

Did you know Huerfano county and river got their names from a lonely volcanic plug? “Huerfano” is Spanish for orphan, and the Huerfano Butte (about eight miles north of Walsenburg) was so named by early Spanish explorers because of its seeming total isolation on the Colorado plains. The 18-foot-tall solitary volcanic outcropping has been used as an unmistakable landmark for centuries.

Over the years, Colorado Springs has enjoyed a variety of monikers. The city has been referred to as: Little London (for its European style), The City of Millionaires (for Cripple Creek mine owners), Newport in the Rockies (a book by Marshall Sprague) and now Olympic City USA


Colorado Springs Utilities Talks About the Drake Power Plant

The demolition of the Martin Drake Power Plant and our energy future

There’s no clearer symbol for the size and scope of our energy transition than the demolition of the downtown Martin Drake Power Plant — a fixture of the city’s skyline for nearly 100 years. As each building and stack comes down, the reality of what’s ahead becomes clearer.

Like many other energy providers across the state and nation, we are amid major changes in how energy is produced and delivered. For example, Colorado is one of the most aggressive states in implementing air quality regulations and carbon emissions reduction targets; regulations that make the long-term operation of coal-fired power plants like Drake nearly impossible.

The regulatory landscape isn’t getting easier. In late February, the state unveiled its Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap 2.0. This updated plan outlines even more aggressive targets and includes a commitment to 100% clean energy by 2040 — a goal that could have

NORTH April/May 2024 51

unprecedented financial and reliability impacts on our customers. I addressed these issues in my recent blog.

As demolition efforts at the Drake site move forward and as concerns about the future of energy rates become more pronounced, we understand it has reawakened debate about the decision to close the plant.


It’s important to note that in the months prior to Drake’s closure, the plant was a peak load facility only — running about 4% to 6% of the time during the hottest or coldest days. Its life as a daily power generation workhorse was over.

The six efficient and low-emission natural gas units installed adjacent to Drake and commissioned in 2023 are serving the downtown plant’s former role at much less cost and human resources and with far fewer emissions.

At nearly 100 years old, Drake was no longer costeffective to operate and maintain. It had become inefficient and resource intensive. We estimate that closing the plant saved more than $200 million in operation and maintenance costs.


The demolition of Drake and the planned closure of the Ray Nixon Power Plant within the next six years will help us achieve an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, as identified in our Sustainable Energy Plan (SEP). This emissions reduction target is consistent with regulatory mandates passed by the state legislature in 2019.


We adopted the SEP in 2020 to help meet air quality regulations and to navigate the closure of two major power plants, while also prioritizing cost management and system reliability.

To ensure a responsible, reliable and cost-effective transition to more renewable resources, the SEP includes natural gas as a bridge generation source; transmission line upgrades; general enhancements to the electric grid; 1,700 megawatts of new energy resources; and the addition of large-scale battery storage.


The Drake site will continue to provide reliable energy to our community for years. The previously mentioned natural gas units and a substation located just to the south of the old power plant will remain onsite for the foreseeable future, to ensure grid reliability.

We will request independent environmental reviews of the site after demolition efforts are complete, which is expected by the end of 2024. These reviews will ultimately determine what level of mitigation and remediation will be required.

As we explore future uses on the Drake site, our main priorities are protecting the financial interests of our customers and maintaining service reliability.


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NORTH April/May 2024 53


What do magical dragons, cat sisters and a spotless leopard have in common? They are among a cast of characters created by three young Colorado Springs bookworms to help other children understand dyslexia through storytelling.

The Kute Kids, nine-year-old Dane, eight-year-old Savannah, and six-year-old Ruby, have published six books inspired by their own experiences with dyslexia and anxiety.

In addition to their endearing “kute” factor, the books introduce characters with learning disabilities who navigate familiar situations, such as learning to read or starting a new school year, through the lens of imaginative adventures or delightful rhymes.

Dyslexia is a learning disability that involves difficulty reading. According to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, dyslexia affects 20% of the population and is a lifelong condition.

“Dyslexia makes it harder to read, but it also has superpowers like being smart and creative,” says Dane.

Those superpowers helped Dane launch The Gem of All Dragons, and then inspired Savannah to create Jewel Has Worries. Ruby quickly followed with It Is OK To Be Different

Amanda, the mother of the Kute Kids, says Dane and Ruby completed early intervention through The Resource Exchange (TRE) after Dane was born prematurely and Ruby required physical therapy as a toddler. TRE is a local nonprofit that coordinates care and case management for the disabled community.

“Dane and Ruby overcame those challenges; I know they can work through the challenges of dyslexia,” says Amanda. “The odds for all three of the kids to have dyslexia was rare, so it makes my mama heart feel strongly that we are meant to be educators and advocators. Dyslexia is still very under-supported in the school system. One way we are trying to help others is through these books.”

New books are in the works and can be found on Amazon by searching the children’s names.

Dane encourages other children by saying, “If you keep practicing reading, you’ll get better. Don’t give up and try to focus on your superpowers.”

Top: Dane and Savannah show off two of their books Left: Ruby displays, "It Is Ok To Be Different" Submitted photos by their mother, Amanda.

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The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and spring is almost here, but the changing of seasons also brings dreaded seasonal allergies.

According to Chris Webber, M.D., at Pikes Peak ENT, there are two types of allergies: seasonal and irritant. Seasonal allergies include an immune response against pollen, animals, dust mites and mold. Irritant triggers are non-immune and can include dry air, blowing dust, temperature changes and certain scents.

“Most people’s allergies peak between ages 20 and 40, and then can sometimes slowly improve over time,” says Dr. Webber. “Irritant allergies can start in 30 and 40s, and can sometimes get worse over time.”

Webber suggests three important strategies to address allergies and asthma.

Get ahead of your allergies.

Intervene before they become severe. It often takes fewer medications to prevent allergies than to fix them once they are out of control. Check a pollen counter, like, and start treatment when allergies get to a moderate or higher level.

Get an allergy test.

A skin prick testing involves placing a small amount of the suspected allergy-causing substance (allergen) on the skin, and then scratching or pricking the skin so that the allergen is introduced under the skin surface.

Allergy tests help sufferers decode the information from a pollen counter by applying it to their personal health. Medications that work for seasonal or pet allergies do not necessarily work for irritant allergies. It’s important to be aware of triggers, and avoid them as much as possible — and get help finding the correct medication — to treat both kinds.

Allergy tests are often covered by insurance and may be less expensive than expected, according to Dr. Webber, with a range of $400-$700. Check with your insurance provider for accurate pricing.

Treat allergies to help treat asthma.

Allergies are the second most common cause of controlled asthma becoming uncontrolled. Instead of taking more or stronger asthma medication, treating the “whole airway” often allows for better asthma control with fewer medications.

“I trained in internal medicine and have always focused on lungs,” notes Dr. Webber. “The biggest problem I see with allergy and asthma control in patients is they have learned to live with their symptoms. They still do what they want to do, but sometimes uncomfortably. There are more choices than ever to treat allergies and asthma. I encourage patients to adopt a plan for better allergy care.”

For more information visit or call 719-301-3800 for Pikes Peak ENT, Allergy and Asthma.


Dive into the World of Physician-Led Medical Aesthetics

The Physician’s Touch: Elevating Medical Aesthetics

Seeking top beauty care? Why should it matter who administers your treatments? I’m Dr. Rachael Degurse, a family medical physician and owner-operator of Colorado Springs med spa, Pearl Skin & Body Rejuvenation. In aesthetics, where expertise and precision are paramount, the distinction of a physician-led practice is not just a title — it’s a promise of unparalleled care and safety.

In Colorado, med spa operations must be supervised by a physician medical director, who need not perform procedures nor be on site. At Pearl, beyond mere compliance, I actively oversee and participate in treatments, leveraging my medical expertise to enhance results, precision and safety. This commitment to exceeding legal standards underscores our dedication to your well being, setting Pearl apart.

In Colorado Springs, the presence of a physician in the day-to-day operations and treatment execution of a med spa is a rarity. Whether you’re well versed in medical aesthetics or new to the concept, physician involvement offers a level of trust and confidence that’s crucial. It’s not just about the treatment itself but who is performing it and their understanding of the intricate balance between health and beauty.

Through the lens of the “physician difference,” the stories shared by our guests —who receive a range of treatments from seasonal refreshes to transformative journeys — vividly illustrate the profound impact of our approach. These personal experiences reinforce the trust and satisfaction in our care and ignite discussions that broaden the reach and appreciation of physician-led aesthetics.

This series aims to illuminate the critical role of medical expertise, in not just achieving beauty, but ensuring lasting wellness and confidence. Join us as we explore the uniqueness of physician-led medical aesthetics, a cornerstone of excellence in care!


Join our community on Instagram and Facebook, follow Dr. Degurse on LinkedIn. Visit our website to book a free consultation or to learn more about Pearl Skin & Body Rejuvenation.

@pearlskinbody drrachaeldegurse

NORTH April/May 2024 59
Part 1



avier Gerchow was a good kid, well-liked amongst peers in School District 20, a high school athlete and musician.

On March 11, 2021, the 17-year-old returned to the upper-middle-class home shared with his older sister and father, a Colorado-based Silicon Valley executive. Sore from the day’s basketball workout, Xavier accepted half of what he believed to be a Percocet pill from a friend.

He died of fentanyl poisoning that night.

“We came home, had dinner together like any other night, we said good night, said ‘I love you, I love you,’ The next morning, he was found dead in my home,” says Xavier’s dad, George Gerchow.

The half pill Xavier had taken was 99% fentanyl.


Xavier Gerchow shown at a selfie station in Denver shortly before he passed away. (Photo courtesy of George Gerchow/X Foundation)

Lethal dose of fentanyl. (Photo courtesy DEA website)

fentanyl deaths are linked to the illicit drug market. It’s an outgrowth of the opioid epidemic, monetized by cartels and drug distribution organizations.

The substance is frequently added to counterfeit pills purchased on the streets, likely unbeknownst to the buyer. DEA testing shows seven out of ten fake pills with fentanyl contain potentially deadly doses.

At El Pomar Foundation’s Forum on Fentanyl last November, Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez called the Pikes Peak Region a “strategic location” for drug traffickers. Social media can play a big role in its distribution.

“El Paso County has always been an area that was a great stopping point for drugs to be stored and distributed out to other parts of the country because of the I-25 corridor, I-80 and I-70 running east and west.”


Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. While pharmaceutically prescribed to treat severe pain, most

George Gerchow didn’t know what fentanyl was.

“I thought because I lived in this great neighborhood


and my son went to this great D20 school, I was doing all the right things,” he said.

Gerchow advised his children against drugs, citing the dangers of addiction, but now regrets not knowing that the more important message for his son would have been that a pill of unknown origin could end your life.

Because our culture promotes “a pill for an ill,” young people are conditioned to believe pills are safe. Simply turn on your television to see this illustrated with an ad for a diet pill, hair loss pill, ED pill, and the list goes on.

Along with his 25-year-old daughter, Madison, Gerchow operates the X Foundation in honor of Xavier.

Part of the mission is to remove the stigma surrounding fentanyl poisoning through awareness and education.

He explains that upon hearing of a drug overdose death, people assume the deceased was an addict. While that is the case for some, it certainly was not for Xavier. Consider how often college students are offered Adderall to get through testing. Gerchow says fake Adderall can frequently be laced with fentanyl.

Part of this advocacy work includes changing the rhetoric regarding accidental fentanyl deaths. A New York Times article by Jan Hoffman claims that “‘overdose’ suggests that their loved ones were addicted and responsible for their own deaths, whereas ‘poisoning’ shows they were victims.”

“No one is safe. It doesn’t matter where you live. It doesn’t matter what your socioeconomic background is,” says Gerchow. “Fentanyl can make its way into your home.”


In 2022, El Paso and Teller Counties reported 218 overdose deaths. 133 were from opioids. According to

El Paso County Coroner Dr. Leon Kelly, the average age of fentanyl deaths is 36, while that of other drug deaths (including cocaine, heroin and meth) is 48.

Fentanyl takes younger victims who have not necessarily been long-term users.

This is why El Paso County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez says Colorado’s Region 16 Opioid Abatement Council will prioritize funding for youth prevention when distributing funds from the landmark $26-billion settlement with prescription opioid manufacturers and major pharmaceutical distributors.

An estimated $66 million will be distributed over 17 years to programs addressing prevention, treatment and recovery in El Paso and Teller Counties.

NORTH April/May 2024 61
Left to Right: CSPD Chief Adrian Vasquez, D11 Project AWARE Coordinator Nicole Herrera, El Paso County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez, and Achieve Whole Recovery President Dr. Ryan Cole speak as part of El Pomar Foundation’s Forum on Fentanyl last November. (Photo courtesy of El Pomar Foundation)

Left: Kerrick Tafoya has been in recovery for over three years, and is a peer recovery coach at Serenity Recovery Connection. Below: Tafoya spends time with his two sons.


31-year-old Kerrick Tafoya is a father of two and peer recovery coach at Serenity Recovery Connection.

Unlike Xavier Gerchow’s, Kerrick’s story is of addiction –another deadly outcome of the fentanyl epidemic. There is pain in his eyes when he speaks of his past, but light when he talks of helping others.

Kerrick graduated valedictorian of his alternative high school in Cañon City, but sadly, addiction had already taken hold. His young adulthood quickly spiraled into one of drugs, crime, incarceration and broken family relationships across Pueblo, Fremont County, Denver and Colorado Springs.

“There were definitely times where we were physically dependent to the point where if we ran out of pills, we’d be pretty sick,” he says of his Percocet addiction, which began before fentanyl became mainstream.

Eventually, Kerrick was hooked on heroin. He says by 2018, even this drug contained fentanyl.

“I got fentanyl test strips from the harm reduction action center (in Denver) because at first, I was concerned about it. I didn’t want anything with fentanyl in it. Then after a while it didn’t matter what I tested. It didn’t matter who I got the heroin from or who I got the meth from. It always tested positive.”

Kerrick credits a lot of his recovery to the Medication Assisted Treatment he received in the Fremont County Jail before his 2020 release. He is now a full-time employee of Serenity Recovery Connection, providing peer-to-peer coaching for others in recovery – a gig he plans to keep.

“I’ve always wanted a job where I get to help people. My recovery improves and strengthens by helping other people’s recovery improve and strengthen.”


Ashlee Runge is Director of Operations for Achieve Whole Recovery, which combines psychiatry, addiction medicine and therapy for patients in Colorado Springs.

“We have clients that have been with us since 2017, and we have seen miraculous changes in their home lives, in their personal lives, in their careers. Without the education or knowing about these services, they feel lost.”

Here are some resources for recovery, education, and prevention available right now in the Pikes Peak Region:

Achieve Whole Recovery combines addiction medicine, psychiatry and therapy to provide comprehensive treatment in Colorado Springs.


Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) offers resources to educate family members of fentanyl users.


Diversus Health is a behavioral health provider in El Paso, Park and Teller Counties focusing on addiction, counseling, crisis management and psychiatric therapy.


Pikes Peak Area Crimestoppers helps law enforcement agencies solve crimes. Anonymous reporting of illegal drug activity can be made at � 719-634-STOP or

Serenity Recovery Connection strengthens the recovery community through peer-to-peer recovery coaching, family support, public education and harm reduction tools.


X Foundation aims to remove the stigma surrounding fentanyl poisoning by providing awareness and education on the fentanyl epidemic.


Submitted photos.

Beyond the Basics

Dental Hygienist Dedicates Practice to Underserved Patients

While working as a dental hygienist in a practice in Colorado Springs, Michelle Vacha was shocked to learn that elderly people weren’t getting the care that they needed, because they couldn’t get to a dental office or afford care if they did.

“Oral health is a vital part of overall health care,” Vacha says.

In 2006, Vacha left private practice and, together with her husband Mike, created Senior Mobile Dental — using their own money and a 0% credit card to start the nonprofit and outfit their van with equipment and a chair. She traveled to local long-term care facilities, providing basic dental services at very low or no cost. She worked tirelessly to support these efforts through grants and donations, and cultivated a partnership with Mission Medical Clinic to offer affordable dental services there.

After 2014, when Colorado Medicaid began covering adult dental care, more providers started serving patients in nursing homes. In 2016, Vacha opened a brick-and-mortar office in the Golf Acres Shopping Center, adjacent to the Colorado Springs Senior Center, and a satellite office in Pueblo. The name of the practice changed to Community Dental Health to reflect that services are not limited to the elderly but also are provided to veterans, disabled and low-income individuals over age 18, as well as adult patients who have dental insurance.

Community Dental Services moved again last year when the city and YMCA took over Golf Acres to build a new senior center. The new facility, at 3650 Rebecca Lane, “was larger than what we needed,” Vacha says, but it will allow her to rent space to other providers of services for seniors.

“We have the entire lower level open for people to rent,” she says. Vacha also moved the Pueblo practice, Grand Avenue Dental, in 2019 from shared space to its own office at 2320 N. Grand Ave. The two offices provide a range of services from cleanings and fillings to extractions and denture services.

“We’re known for providing services based on true needs,” she says.

Vacha’s dedication has been honored with numerous accolades, including a national Jefferson Award for outstanding public service in 2023.

“The needs aren’t just in Colorado,” she says. “My hope is to find powerful business leaders to help us bring our program to states throughout the nation.”

Vacha wants to add more senior-related services to her building.

Is Your Vet Hospital Privately Owned?

She was one of those kids who always knew she wanted to be a veterinarian. Lindsey L. Ganzer, DVM, is also CEO of North Springs Veterinary Referral Center. Dr. Ganzer started working at an animal hospital in her hometown of Atlanta when she was 15. “I’ve had every job there is, from cleaning kennels to conservation work in Costa Rica and Vietnam,” says Ganzer. Her first love was zoo medicine and she worked in the reptile house as a zookeeper in Atlanta, until she took an elective course in emergency and critical care during vet school. “I loved the ER and that was it.”

Ganzer graduated from Wofford

College in South Carolina, with a double major in biology and religion, while playing soccer and running track. She graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. After five years of rising through the ranks to director of the ER, she decided it was time for a change. That’s when she moved her dog, cat and bearded dragon to Colorado.

She began working at a privately owned emergency and specialty hospital in Colorado Springs, was promoted to the ER director, and then things changed.

“The hospital was sold to a corporation, and this is when I got Lindsey L. Ganzer, DVM


my first real look at how corporations work. It is all about the bottom line, not the animals or the employees,” says Ganzer. “A whole string of things fell into place in my career; and being a hardheaded, stubborn person, I saw what needed to be done to save my profession. Being a redhead also adds to the spiciness of getting things done!” she says.

Once she started doing some research, she was stunned. “Nearly 75% of emergency animal hospitals and specialty clinics are owned by corporations*,” explains Ganzer. “And consumers are often being fooled by these private-equity firms keeping the same names.” Her main concern is that many of these companies have no connection to animals, animal welfare or the veterinarian world. “A German banking organization has made huge takeovers in our industry, as has the Mars Candy Company.”

What has enticed these corporations to take over this industry? Money, says Ganzer. In 2022, Americans spent $136.8 billion on their pets, with almost $36 billion in vet/ER services. In 2023, the estimate is $143.6 billion with $37 billion in vet/ER services.**

“As a veterinarian, our goal is to take care of the patient,” notes Ganzer. “Corporations are looking at bottom line, period.”

Ganzer recently opened North Springs Veterinary Referral Center in north Colorado Springs. She already employs 110 people and the company keeps growing, with more vets and techs sending in resumes to work in the field they believe in — not for a corporation, says Ganzer. Her hospital is one of only two locally owned ER clinics in Colorado Springs, and the only multi-specialty hospital in the area.

“I’ve had people tell me about their pets being turned away in an emergency because they couldn’t pay right there and then. We don’t do that; instead we offer options and payment plans so medical care is not compromised,” emphasizes Ganzer.

It’s not just vets who are feeling pressure from these corporate-run clinics, according to Ganzer. Colorado recently became a state that requires a degree for vet technicians. This is a good thing, she says.

“Our techs are our nurses,” she explains. “But now there is more burden on people entering this industry to pay to get a degree for a salary that may be close to a fast food position. We were able to get our techs at North Springs VRC degreed through a grandfather clause, but

corporation-owned clinics are also pushing down the pay of those we depend upon.”

North Springs VRC came to fruition with the help of Ganzer’s partner. And SRT Development. “I saw their sign in a medical complex and called to ask if we could have

an animal ER in the complex,” says Ganzer. “He said no, but they had another area we could build.”

SRT Development is comprised of Paul Rubley and Darren Sharp, two Colorado Springs natives looking to help local companies. The company built Ganzer’s dream to Ganzer’s exact specifications and then rented the space back to her. Ganzer, Rubley and Sharp are now working to help other veterinarians compete with the corporate owned clinics, following this model.

“Our overhead may be higher and our bottom line lower, but we save animals and give dignity back to those who do the saving,” ends Ganzer.

For more information about North Springs Veterinary Referral Center visit

NORTH April/May 2024 67
animal health firm Brakke Consulting **APPA American Pet Products Association
17 B oard C ertified o rthopaedi C S urgeon S Physical & Occupational Therapy • Orthopaedic Express Care • MRI & XRay Imaging Orthotic & Prosthetic Services • Ambulatory Surgery Center | 719-632-7669 G. ALEX SIMPSON, DO Foot & Ankle Specialist BRAD DRESHER, MD Foot & Ankle Specialist COMPREHENSIVE ORTHOPEDIC CARE for your individual needs



Tips for Active Adults

As we age, staying active becomes increasingly important for maintaining our health and wellbeing. Whether it’s weight training, enjoying yoga with friends or simply going for a walk through the park, staying active plays a huge role in keeping common health conditions at bay.

While striving for your health and wellness goals, it’s important to keep joint health in mind. This activity can take a toll on our feet and ankles, leading to common injuries such as ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis and Plantar Fasciitis.

Here are four ways to stay active while mitigating further risk factors:


One of the most important factors in preventing foot and ankle injuries is wearing the right shoes for your unique body and activity levels. It’s crucial to wear shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning for your feet, while still allowing for natural movement. Look for shoes specifically designed for the type of activity you'll be doing and those with a wider toe box. Be sure to replace your shoes regularly too, as worn-out shoes can increase your risk of injury.


Another key component of preventing foot and ankle injuries is strengthening the muscles that support these areas. Simple exercises like toe raises, toe curls, arch curls, calf raises and ankle circles can help increase strength, flexibility and durability while reducing the risk of strains and sprains. Incorporate these exercises into your regular workout routine to keep your feet and ankles strong and stable.


Many foot and ankle injuries are caused by overuse, especially in activities that involve repetitive motion, such as running or jumping. To help prevent these

overuse injuries, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts by listening to your body’s recovery cues, and allowing your body time to adjust. Often overlooked, these practices are key to avoiding overuse injuries.


Another frequently overlooked factor to preventing injury is ensuring a proper warm-up before starting your activity. Dynamic stretches, a short, light jog and some variation of Central Nervous System stimulation, such as jumping jacks or high knees, will help prepare your body for exercise. Similarly, cooling down after a workout with more dynamic stretches combined with gentle static stretches and foam rolling can help prevent stiffness and soreness.

Despite our best efforts, injuries can still occur. If you experience persistent pain, swelling or difficulty walking after an injury, it’s important to seek professional help. Fellowship-trained and boardcertified orthopedic specialists Brad Dresher, M.D. and G. Alex Simpson, D.O. at the Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group Foot and Ankle Center are available to help diagnose, treat and help you recover as quickly and efficiently as possible.

With the right care and precaution, you can keep your feet and ankles healthy and continue to enjoy an active lifestyle. Give these four tips a try and know that, in the event of an injury, the CSOG Foot and Ankle Center is just a phone call away.


NORTH April/May 2024 69

Factors Affecting Home Affordability

As we enter the second quarter of 2024, many in the Pikes Peak area are experiencing a refreshing change of pace in the housing market. As we transition through economic landscapes, it’s important to be aware of the subtle shifts in housing affordability — a more nuanced concept than some might think. It’s not merely about what’s happening with mortgage rates, but a trifecta of forces.

Mortgage Rates

There’s a collective sigh of relief as mortgage rates have begun to retreat from their October peak. That’s just the beginning — industry experts are cautiously optimistic, forecasting a continued downtrend in rates, assuming progression on economic fronts like inflation control. Reduced mortgage rates can significantly amplify your buying power and lessen the burden of monthly payments, potentially unlocking the door to your dream home.

Home Values

The climb in home prices has moderated with expectations of a more steady ascension in 2024. While the inventory of homes is anticipated to increase slightly, the balance of supply and demand will likely keep prices from soaring unexpectedly. Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist at Bright MLS, suggests a modest expansion in median home prices due to the

equilibrium between inventory growth and buyer entry into the market. For those poised to purchase, acting soon could mitigate the financial impact of potential price hikes.

Income Growth

And then, there’s the silver lining of rising wages: the Federal Reserve’s data paints an encouraging picture of incomes climbing more robustly than historical norms. This translates directly to enhanced affordability, since a larger portion of earnings will remain after addressing homerelated expenses.

For those who currently, or hope to, call Colorado Springs home, the confluence of declining mortgage rates, reasonable home price increments and appreciable wage growth is crafting an opportune moment for prospective buyers.


Understanding the interplay of these factors is essential. This is an era where strategic timing and market knowledge converge to make home-buying aspirations a reality.

If the enchanting allure of Pikes Peak and its improving market entice you, now could be the time to explore your options. Though it’s essential to stay updated with market shifts, the trajectory points toward a window of opportunity for those ready to take the leap into homeownership.

1 3 2


Whether you’re a first-time buyer or seeking your next investment in Colorado, keeping abreast of mortgage rates, home pricing trends and income shifts is key to an informed purchase. If you’re considering the benefits of buying or selling, it is important to find a local real estate expert and lender who can tailor guidance to your unique situation, providing you the most accurate market information and projections.

Colorado Springs continues to be a canvas for those who appreciate the outdoors year-round and enjoy a vibrant city life alike. With more employers moving to the area, we are seeing the pool of interested and qualified buyers heat up for the spring market!

NORTH April/May 2024 71
Marquesa Hobbs, Realtor® & MRP, CNE. Top 1.5% of Realtors® in the area. Peak Producer 2019 - Present. Host of American Dream TV, Colorado Springs.

Recognized as Top 1% of Realtors by the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, Marquesa Hobbs has helped hundreds of clients achieve their real estate goals. She can do the same for you.

Realtor® CNE & MRP
| 5TH Straight Year
Marquesa Hobbs

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Nestled deep in the West Valley of Forest Lakes, you'll nd an extraordinary opportunity to build your Colorado dream home.

Featuring new homes from the $700s.

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Be Reasonable

This Tax Season !

Small business tax deductions are critical for reducing taxable income. The tax code and IRS basically say, “Go ahead and deduct business expenses, provided you are attempting to earn a profit, which we will tax one day.” Knowing the rules is one thing, but being reasonable within the small business tax deduction is just as important.

The underpinnings for a business tax deduction are ordinary and necessary. Simply put, “ordinary means everyone in your line of work buys similar things for their business. “Necessary” means that the expense is required for continued operations and revenue earning.

Business Mileage

A client reasonably submitted mileage information for the maintenance and upkeep of his rental property. The mileage was 4,592, which didn’t seem too high compared to the 18,000 total miles driven that year.

However, the zip code of the rental property was the same as the taxpayer’s primary residence. Using some quick mapping and math skills, it’s easy to see that the property owner would have to have made 1.7 round trips to the property every day of the year. That seems unlikely.

Cell Phone

Far too often, we see cell phone expenses being completely deducted as a small business tax deduction. Sometimes, this includes a spouse’s or children’s bills, too! First, it doesn’t matter how many business calls you receive on your cell phone. The minute you receive a personal text, your phone use is not 100% business related. Even in today’s perpetually plugged-in world, this is unreasonable.

Jason Watson, CPA, is a partner for WCG CPAs & Advisors, a progressive boutique tax and accounting firm with seven partners and a team of 64 people located in northern Colorado Springs. 719-428-3261 •

Home Office Deduction

Every tax season, we get a business owner claiming to have a 1,000-square-foot home office. Unreasonable? Unsure, but it begs further investigation. Commonly, the business owner has an office in the basement, but the basement isn’t compartmentalized into bedrooms, game room or family room. This could be viewed as unreasonable for an IT wizard needing just a laptop.

Take this same business owner in this large singular space and make them an interior designer. This might change things. Interior designers have all kinds of samples, boards and other necessary items that could easily take up 1,000 square feet.

All Cars Are Business Cars

Periodically, we see a client with five cars listed as business vehicles in a single-person company. Is this unreasonable? Perhaps. If every car owned is listed as a business car, regardless of varying business use percentages, you will have a very large rock going up a very steep hill under an IRS challenge.

Small Business Tax Deductions Wrap-up

Don’t be afraid of an audit, and don’t be afraid of losing one. Be afraid of having an unreasonable position when it comes to your small business tax deduction. The IRS will let a lot of things slide; we’ve seen it many times. However, if you are unreasonable, they will dig in for the long-haul, making you wish you had submitted a different tax return.

NORTH April/May 2024 77
REMODEL • DESIGN • BUILD Stewart Remodel-Design-Build is a locally owned full-service remodeling and design contractor. With our team of home remodeling experts and certified designers, we provide design, planning, product selection, installation, and complete project management for your interior remodeling project. Serving Colorado Springs, Monument, Larkspur CO and surrounding mountain communities since 1999! www. StewartRemodeling .com 719.266.0336
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Fighting Human Trafficking on the Front Range & Beyond

A world where no human is bought, sold, or exploited

Since its founding in 2012, The Exodus Road, a Colorado Springs-based nonprofit, has grown into a global force against human trafficking.

Now more than a decade old, the nonprofit’s footprint has expanded significantly, with a track record of roughly 2,500 trafficking survivors freed, over 1,250 perpetrators arrested and over 33,000 officers and citizens trained to protect their communities. Today, their programs operate in six countries worldwide, including the United States.


Both labor trafficking, and its subset, sex trafficking, occur across Colorado. The most recent data, from 2021, reported 150 total cases, though experts agree that the true number of cases is likely much higher. Trafficking appears differently throughout communities. To name a few examples, sex trafficking in Colorado can look like an adult male forcing his teenage girlfriend to sleep with his friends for money, and labor trafficking can affect migrant workers in agricultural or meat-packing industries.

Trafficking increasingly begins in the online world. The anonymity of social media makes it easy for a trafficker to target and groom a vulnerable person. In the U.S., this has led to an epidemic affecting children, where more than 80% of child sex crimes begin on social media. In response, The Exodus Road created the informative website, Influenced: Ending Exploitation in Our Digital World. This site equips parents and teens to better understand the realities of online dangers and the steps they can take to protect their families, friends and themselves. With support from the office of Senator John Hickenlooper, The Exodus Road is deploying the program across Colorado in 2024 and 2025.

The Exodus Road wants everyone to recognize their role in preventing and reporting human trafficking in Colorado. Awareness is key: look for signs of fear, anxiety or submissiveness in individuals; is there evidence of physical abuse; do you notice a lack of personal possessions or signs of being controlled. Do not directly intervene, as this can endanger you or the trafficked person. Instead, contact Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline at 866-455-5075. If you see something suspicious online, you can submit a tip at If the situation is urgent or someone is in danger, always call 911. Visit to learn more about the work of The Exodus Road: investigating human trafficking crime, caring for survivors worldwide, and educating law enforcement and everyday people.

Every individual has a role to play in the fight against human trafficking. Your influence, your talents, your community — you have something to offer. Together we can bring rescue to sons and daughters around the world. “

NORTH April/May 2024 81

David A. Joseph Company offers personalized services tailored to the needs of discerning homeowners who need a watchful eye on their investment while they are away.

Whether it is a visual inspection, cleaning, or scheduled maintenance for home systems—to any number of other services—we have you covered.

We’ve been in the Colorado resort home business for over 30 years. Contact us to discuss your individual needs.

Base Package

™ Weekly visits to your home to ensure everything is safe and operating properly

™ Cleaning of your home (hard surfaces and carpet) every six weeks

™ Monthly inspection of all lighting, fireplaces, sinks, toilets, and showers for proper operation

™ Scheduling of maintenance and repairs as needed

Additional Services

™ Additional cleans as requested

™ Linen service and dry cleaning

™ Stocking of groceries, fresh flowers, liquor, etc.

™ Landscaping, pool and spa services

™ Small- and large-scale construction and remodel projects

NORTH April/May 2024 83
Luxury Concierge Services  719.238.5339 

Those on Cancer Journey Welcome Sue’s Gift

It started as a family project to honor mom and wife Sue DiNapoli. It has become an invaluable nonprofit taking care of women in Colorado through mentorship and financial aid during their most vulnerable moments fighting cancer.

“My mother would’ve hated that we named it Sue’s Gift,” laughs her daughter, Executive Director Susan DiNapoli. “What she would have loved is that Sue’s Gift changed the way the community now rallies around each other. My mom was battling ovarian cancer at a time when there were no peer groups. There wasn’t even a doctor in Colorado Springs for her — we had to take her to Denver. She was in an isolated place in her cancer journey.”

It all started in 2007 with a memorial walk for her mom. The organization’s first Be Ovary Aware walk started in 2009. It was a way to honor her mom while helping others do the same for their loved ones, explains DiNapoli.

“After a few years of my dad funding the walks, we decided it was time to move our ‘project’ into a fullfledged organization that could continue to help women along their cancer journey,” she says.

Since 2014, when Sue’s Gift became a 501(c)3, the group has given more than $275,000 in aid to women battling cancer. Their formula is simple, according to DiNapoli — if a woman’s expenses are more than their income, they should apply for assistance. A task force reviews each application to ensure need.

Sue’s Gift clients primarily come from oncology groups, hospitals and social workers, explains DiNapoli. Each client

“After a few years of my dad funding the walks, we decided it was time to move our ‘project’ into a full-fledged organization that could continue to help women along their cancer journey.”

has typically just been diagnosed and is paired with a peer mentor who is in remission with the same type of cancer.

“Our peer mentoring is just as important as our financial assistance,” notes DiNapoli. “However, after COVID, we realized that we were not reaching diverse population groups — as they were not coming through the same medical groups or even social workers.”

To address this gap, DiNapoli says the organization’s extensive network of volunteers are partnering with community groups in different areas of southern Colorado, including rural areas, to get the word out about Sue’s Gift.

“We always need volunteers,” she says. “You don’t have to be a cancer survivor to help. We put together Chemo Comfort bags once a quarter, and we have many different fundraising events throughout the year, at different price points.”

A signature Sue’s Gift event is coming up soon: the TEAL Tee-Off golf tournament at The Club at Flying Horse, on Monday, June 17.

“What keeps us going is promising new treatments that are changing the game for survivors of ovarian cancer,” emphasizes DiNapoli. “In the next 10 years, that five-year life expectancy statistic we’ve lived with forever will be changing, thanks to PARP inhibitors. We’re also learning more about genetic mutations, which allow us to test and prevent these cancers. It really is all about education.”

To register for the TEAL Tee-Off golf tournament, and for more information, visit

— Susan DiNapoli

Benefits of Bridge Loans in Today’s Market

Today’s real estate landscape presents unique opportunities and challenges for prospective homebuyers. With limited available properties and potential multiple bid scenarios, it is important to understand what tools are available to help you secure your ideal home. Innovative financing options like bridge loans have emerged as one option to help buyers navigate today’s market.

What is a bridge loan?

A bridge loan, also known as interim financing, is a short-term loan that bridges the gap between the purchase of a new home and the sale of a current property. Essentially, it provides funds to cover the down payment and closing costs for the new home purchase while the borrower awaits the sale of their existing property.

Flexibility in timing

In a lower inventory market, finding the perfect home can take time. This option gives buyers the flexibility to act quickly when the right opportunity arises. They can make a competitive offer on a new home without being constrained by the sale timeline of their current property. This agility can be a game-changer, especially when dealing with multiple offers and fastpaced market conditions.

Competitive edge in bidding wars

Bidding wars are commonplace in low inventory markets, driving up prices and leaving many buyers frustrated. Bridge loans empower buyers to make strong, non-contingent offers, which can be highly attractive to sellers. By eliminating the need for

a home sale contingency, buyers can often negotiate more favorable terms and increase their chances of winning in a competitive bidding situation.

Seamless transition

Moving from one home to another can be a logistical challenge, especially if there's a gap between selling the old home and closing on the new one. Bridge loans provide a seamless transition by ensuring that funds are available for the down payment and closing costs on the new property before the sale of the current one is finalized. This alleviates the stress of coordinating timing between closings and allows buyers to move into their new home with minimal disruption.

Preservation of equity

In a seller's market, home prices may continue to rise while buyers wait for their existing property to sell. By using a bridge loan, buyers can capitalize on current market conditions and lock in a purchase price before prices escalate further. This can help preserve equity and maximize the potential return on investment, especially in rapidly appreciating markets.

Avoiding contingency pitfalls

Traditional home purchase offers often include contingencies, such as the sale of the buyer's current home. In a low inventory market, sellers may favor offers without contingencies to streamline the selling process and minimize risk. Bridge loans enable buyers to make clean, contingencyfree offers, making their offers more appealing to sellers and increasing the likelihood of acceptance.

Is a bridge loan right for you?

In low inventory markets where competition is fierce and timing is critical, bridge loans offer a strategic financing solution for homebuyers. By providing flexibility, a competitive edge, and a seamless transition, bridge loans may empower buyers to navigate the challenges of purchasing a home in a tight market with confidence. Contact me today at (312) 953-7365 to discuss if a bridge loan would be a good fit for your real estate wealth strategy.

Michelle Bobart

is a Certified Mortgage Advisor with CrossCountry Mortgage and is licensed in all 50 states.


“In my 25+ years in the mortgage industry, I’ve partnered with over 3,500 clients and real estate agents to create customized mortgage solutions to fit each individualized portfolio in every economic situation.”

Michelle Bobart NMLS 137164

Michelle Bobart Branch NMLS 1806506

Michelle Bobart Company NMLS 3029

Failure to pay on your Bridge Loan could damage your credit standing and result in the loss of your home through foreclosure. Equal Housing Opportunity. All loans subject to underwriting approval. Certain restrictions apply. Call for details. All borrowers must meet minimum credit score, loan-to-value, debt-to-income, and other requirements to qualify for any mortgage program.

CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS3029 ( See for a complete list of state licenses.

NORTH April/May 2024 89

Bar Cart Cheat Sheet The



Not a tequila fan? Does the sound of “margarita” make your head start to hurt? Well, there are some key ingredients that can prevent that, and you don’t really need tequila to get most of those margarita flavors. This recipe works amazing with our rums, but also with our gin, vodkas and bourbons. Freshly squeezed citrus instead of the cheap and sugary Sweet & Sour mix will have you experimenting with “Ritas” of all flavors — all with amazing results.

Fill your glass with ice and cold water to chill the glass. Then, in a shaker with ice, add:

• 1.75 oz Fleet Admirals’ BarrelAged Rum

• 1.0 oz orange juice

• 0.5 oz lime Juice

Shake to chill. Empty ice water from your glass. Strain and pour the cocktail into the chilled glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

What makes a great cocktail? In short, fresh, high-quality ingredients, from the ice to the spirits. At 1350 Distilling, we pride ourselves on serving freshly squeezed citrus juices, locally sourced ingredients and simple recipes to make the best cocktails possible. No high-brow elitism here.

These cocktails shine with fresh seasonal flavors, perfect for springtime libations. Each recipe makes one serving.

Salty Dogfight

Freshly squeezed grapefruit and lime juice are the key ingredients to making this cocktail a hit.

Don’t think the “juice is worth the squeeze” on this one? We suggest using 2 ounces of Colorado’s Freshies Paloma Mix made with real juices instead. (We sell bottles in our Taste Lounge.) This could quickly become your favorite warm weather libation.

First, use a lime wedge to wet the rim of your glass, then dress it with salt (dredge the glass rim in salt on a plate). Then add to your glass:

• ice

• 2 oz Wingman Gin

• 2 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

• 0.5 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

Stir well in the glass and garnish with extra mint, left over from your Mint Julep.

Mint Julep

Let’s all celebrate the 150th Kentucky Derby with its signature cocktail, the Mint Julep. The requirements for this cocktail are to keep it very cold and add lots of mint. Crushed ice and a copper cup or mug are suggested, but not required. Fresh mint provides all the flavors and aromas that make this cocktail a winner.

Muddle the ingredients in your glass before adding ice. Sugar should be dissolved completely. (Simple syrup can replace raw sugar and water.)

• 10 mint leaves

• 1 teaspoon raw sugar

• 0.5 oz water

• 0.5 oz honey syrup

Then add 2.0 oz Guardian Bourbon and stir in glass. Add crushed ice to fill the glass, making sure all ice is wet, then garnish with fresh “spanked” mint. (Just rough it up a bit.)

Watch how each drink gets made! Brought to you by 1350 Distilling

Thank you to each and every advertiser listed herein.

You are greatly appreciated for helping make Colorado Springs an amazing Community.

1350 Distillery

APG: Advanced Printing & Graphics

Aurora Medical Spa

Boot Barn

Classic Homes

Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group

Colorado Springs Utilities

Club at Flying Horse

David A. Joseph Company

Ent Center for the Arts

Flying Horse Realty


Force Broadband

Forest Lakes

Freedom Landscapes

Garden of the Gods Resort/Strata

Grass 365


Legend Motor Works

Marquesa Hobbs/Platinum Group

Michelle Bobart/Cross Country Mortgage

New Altitude Coworking & Office Space

Notes Live

Opus Creative Industries

Pearl Skin

Pine Creek Dental

Q-102.7/Salem Media

Rick's Garden Center

Ross Studios

Southern Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce

Stewart Remodeling

Sunwater Spa

The Resource Exchange

The Pinery North

TING Internet


Virtuent Wealth Management

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