Page 1

“I Was On

AMERICAN Ninja Warrior!”



The Plug Abandon Operation

Children & Airway Problems



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At the successful closing of the property, Brie Fowler with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage will credit the buyer or seller in the amount of the commission received by the agent as follows: $1,000 toward closing costs. This amount is due to the buyer or seller only upon the successful closing of the property mentioned in the contract to buy and sell. (If client is a buyer, this offer is subject to the lender, of the amount stipulated. This amount may be modified or completely eliminated if the lender does not allow for such commission credit payable to the buyer by the agent. Buyer needs to be aware that the agent is not responsible for any monies that this agreement may imply that are over and above lender requirements that will be determined prior to closing. Any and all amounts approved by lender, or in the event of a cash transaction, the entire agree amount detailed above, will be disclosed on the HUD document signed by all parties at closing). This offer expires on 4/30/2018.



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I live, love and know Erie. 18 years in real estate and going strong. I’m more passionate about finding people their next dream home. Whether it’s your bottom line, or just the perfect home for you ... Let’s work together to position your property for a speedy sale at top dollar and find your next dream home I can take care of all your real estate needs!

Getting to know Kathryn ... Tell us about yourself: I have two friendly Chihuahua-Poodles named Butch and Cassidy. They are the love of my life. I believe that you have to give back to the community in which you live and work and feel passionate about that. I am a past Vice-President of the Arts Coalition of Erie and currently working on my encaustic art developing different techniques for wax art. I am a member of the International Encaustic Art Institute in Santa Fe, NM. Tell us about your experience as a realtor: I have been a 5280 Magazine Award recipient for Outstanding Realtors for the past 4 years for the Denver and surrounding areas. I also carry 4 designations, CRS (Certified Residential Specialist which only 3-4% of the Realtors in the USA have this designation), GRI (Graduate Real Estate Institute), SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) and most recently completed a MCNE (Masters Certified Negotiation Expert which only 1% of the Realtors in the USA carry). I also hold a BSBA in Marketing, MBA in Information Systems and post graduate work in International Marketing. I have written about Real Estate for several local newspapers and known for getting down to the nitty gritty of what it means to venture in that business for investment or searching for the perfect house. I practice Residential, Investment, some Commercial Real Estate. I’m excellent at staging with my Art background. How long have you been in the area? This year I celebrated 41 years in beautiful Colorado and now 14 years in Erie. I’ve always been in this area and have lived in Erie, Lafayette, Boulder and Longmont. How have you been involved in Erie? I am an Erie Chamber member and Ambassador for the last 6 years. I volunteer all our local events. I was nominated and accepted the prestigious Ambassador of the Year from my fellow Ambassadors for 2016. I am also a Leads Group Facilitator for the Erie Chamber of Commerce.

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ADVERTISING ELIFE magazine offers businesses the most cost-effective way to reach consumers in Erie and its surrounding towns. Information about advertising is available on the Web at ELIFEmagazine.org Call 212.695.2959 to request a media kit.

SPONSORSHIPS ELIFE magazine supports organizations that make our town a better place to live and work. Submit sponsorship proposals to trisha@ELIFEmagazine.org

EDITORIAL OFFICE 212.695.2959 |  trisha@ELIFEmagazine.org ELIFE is published by Ventker Media


Editor-in-Chief  Trisha Ventker Chief Creative Officer  Copy Editor Copy Editor Creative Director  Art Director Photographer Contributing Writers

Trisha Ventker John Small Amanda Y. Hendrix Trisha Ventker Jonathan Jackson Trisha Ventker Wira A Babiak Dr. Mark Barnes Jaime Bessko David Hakimi Mayor Tina Harris Claire Pearson Amy Webb Christiaan van Woudenberg Rebekah Zorgdrager


212.695.2959 |  trisha@ELIFEmagazine.org ELIFE is published by Ventker Media


ELIFE is published by Ventker Media. All editorial material, including editorial, comments, opinion and statements of fact appearing in this publication, represents the views of the respective authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of Ventker Media.

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Editor's Note


With the holidays behind us, winter is in full force. Some days here, we have temps in the twenties and the next day the temperature could be sixty! That's what living in Colorado is all about! I don't mind the weather surprises, as long as I have clothes to keep warm. This Winter is especially exciting for me. After years of Northern Colorado businesses wanting to advertise in ELIFE but not being close to Erie and where I market, during the past summer, I began to develop a new magazine entitled "NoCo". NoCo is the "heartbeat" of Northern Colorado celebrating its lifestyle, businesses, events, fashion and culture. You may not realize this, ELIFE was created accidentally. When I first moved here, I was on maternity leave as a teacher. Although I had different skills such as photography and writing as a self-published author, I needed to learn how to brand and market my books. After years of extensive training in viral digital marketing, my books made it to the Amazon best seller lists. These skills are what prompted me to create an online magazine that is "green", garnering tremendous engagement and cost-effective for small business owners. Why should small businesses pay tens of thousands of dollars on a small print ad when there is no proof on how may people actually open the magazine. Publishers will just give a distribution number! However, how many of those magazines are thrown out or actually delivered? With digital impression tracking, there is proof in the analytics. Unfortunately, print is not utilized as it once was. Most people are reading on their mobile devices, smart phones and/or tablets. This is where we are now, and this is where we are headed. In this issue we can read about all of the goals that were met by our town via Mayor Harris' note. We can learn about a very brave local woman, Claire Pearson, who was selected for American Ninja Warrior. Jaime Bessko shares her insights on how to keep your pets safe in the Winter. I hope everyone had a great holiday and I hope everyone is having a spectacular new year. With Spring approaching, we at ELIFE will bring you a Spring/Summer issue soon. How many of you can’t wait for the spring flowers to bloom and put an end to the cold weather?


Trisha Ventker is an author, photographic artist, branding and social media expert and retired elementary school teacher. She also finds promoting and bringing local businesses together very rewarding. She is best known for her first book Internet Dates From Hell which is self-published by Ventker through iUniverse. It has since had the movie rights to it optioned by Paula Wagner. Trisha is also one of the first Indie Books authors to have a book optioned for the big screen. Trisha is originally from New York City, presently residing in Erie, Colorado with her husband and son.

Please take some time and enjoy our Winter, 2018 issue, for we are confident that there is something for everyone in this, and hopefully every other issue we've published to date and have the privilege to publish in the future! ELIFE is here for you!!

TRISHA VENTKER Editor-in-Chief

Trisha Ventker


what's inside ERIE Word From Mayor Tina Harris Why I Am An Activist I Was An American Ninja Warrior













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It is so hard to believe that another year has gone by – and what a year it has been here in Erie! Here are some of the Town’s accomplishments I am particularly grateful for:

COMMUNITY ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

2017 Citizen Survey results provide plenty evidence Erie remains a great investment! Erie named “Top 6 Best Places to Live in the US” Erie named “Best Places to Raise a Family 2017” Erie High School’s Football Team in the State Championship Game Court Grants Erie’s Motion to Dismiss Lafayette’s Lawsuit at Nine Mile Corner Garden in a Box Program 400 Residential Tree Incentive Program Certificates delivered Annual Spring & Fall Clean-Up Days Town Of Erie Historic Preservation Master Plan Moffatt Street Extension Design Contract Approved Community Impact Award Recognizes Erie Singletrack Advocates Design Contract for Town Hall Expansion Project Approved


Town’s 2016 Surplus Exceeds Budget by over $3 Million Water Revenue Bonds Refinancing to Save Town $686,000 Moody’s Raises Town’s Ratings for Water & Wastewater Enterprise Bonds from A1 to Aa3


Business Start Up Seminars & Workshops for Small Businesses Welcomed New Businesses Boulder Community Health announces plans to build Urgent Care Facility in Downtown Board Approves Nine Mile Corner Rezoning Erie Urban Renewal Authority Approves Downtown Redevelopment Projects


Annual household water use in Erie has declined by 20% during the last 10 years Erie’s High Efficiency Washing Machine Rebate Program Celebrated 10th Anniversary Partners in Energy Initiative Smart Meter Lottery Leaf Recycling & Composting Event Parks Division builds Sustainable Tree Nursery


Drainage Improvement Project Erie Parkway Master Plan Completed Transportation Master Plan Completed Citizens’ Police Academy Emergency Preparedness Class Erie named Top 10 “Safest Places in Colorado” twice, and one of the “30 Safest Small Towns in America 2017”


Construction Contract for Star Meadows Park at Flatiron Meadows Master Plan Coal Creek Park and Linear Trail Corridor Site Plan for Final Phase of Erie Community Park Master Plan for Schofield Farm/Strieby Open Space and Erie Lake Expansion Open Space Management Plan & Natural Areas Inventory Update CPRA Awards Presented to Erie Parks & Recreation CAPRA Reaccreditation Parks Recreation Open Space & Trails Master Plan approved

SPECIAL EVENTS ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

Downtown Entertainment District Established Downtown Neighborhood Block Parties – Expanded to 5 Fridays Farmers Market in Historic Downtown Erie Concert in the Park Series Town Fair Erie Brewfest Fishing Clinic Erie Town Fair & Balloon Festival National Pro Fastpitch Game in Erie Boo! on Briggs Street

Whew! What a year it was and 2018 promises to be another successful year here in Erie. And it is with your continued support that I am confident we can deliver on that promise. On behalf of the entire Board, “Thank you” for your active role in making Erie, Colorado the best place to raise a family! It is an honor to serve as your Mayor. Sincerely,

Mayor Tina Harris Town of Erie

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why I am an activist by Christiaan van Woudenberg

 This month, I’d like to focus on the last stage of

ac·tiv·ist noun /ˈæk.tə.vɪst/a person who

production – the plug and abandon (P&A)

believes strongly in political or social

operation. OSHA has a concise definition of the

change and takes part in activities such as public protests to try to make this happen.

 A well is abandoned when it reaches the end of its

In a recent tweet for the Erie Protectors (follow

useful life or is a dry hole.

us @ErieProtectors), I mentioned that there are

▪ The casing and other equipment is removed and

13,103 producing wells in Weld County alone.


Another 8,386 are "shut in". Another 4,377 have

▪ Cement plugs are placed in the borehole to

been plugged and abandoned. Another 1,143

prevent migration of fluids between the different

are currently being drilled. That’s a total of over


27,000 wells!

▪ The surface is reclaimed.

 The numbers are staggering, especially when we get weekly reminders in the news of explosions,

By the industry’s own admission, “end-of-well

fires, spills and releases of volatile organic

operations are often more difficult than initial well

compounds (VOCs) at these facilities during their

construction.” Let this be a cautionary tale told in

various stages of production.

three parts.

Crestone Peak Resources began plug & abandon operations at the Vessels Minerals site just east of Aspen Ridge Preparatory School on September 12, 2017. The same day, an observant resident filed a complaint with the COGCC about “an odor that is permeating from the site that can be smelled in the school parking lots.” When the COGCC sent out an inspector the following day, he had this to report in

Our second tale comes from an idyllic suburban development just east of Grandview in Erie. The concept plan for Erie Highlands includes three innocuous “oil and gas site” designations in what appear to be pocket parks or open space. Imagine the surprise of recent owners of near-million dollar properties when the words “oil & gas site” on a pretty picture turned into a workover rig less than

a notice of alleged violation (NOAV):

100 yards from their back doors, especially when realtors had told them the wells were already plugged.

 COGCC Staff also observed [...] children playing in the playground and watching the rig crew’s operation and volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”) visibly drifting toward the children in the playground.”

While Crestone took corrective action the same day and installed emission control equipment, they had every intention of venting VOCs-25 yards from a

Lessons learned? Do your homework. Self-serving realtors and developers have no interest in providing more than the minimal state-mandated disclosures about nearby oil and gas developments. They will

playground for 8 weeks while they conducted business as usual. The community was only made aware of the NOAV when an Erie Protector found it online almost two months later.

pretend property values are unaffected and will deny community meetings to inform residents of O&G operations. When you’re looking for a new home, visit the COGCC online map at http:// cogccmap.state.co.us/cogcc_gis_online/ and find out where historical, current, and future O&G development may impact you.

Lessons learned? If you see it, report it! The rules and regulations are inadequate to protect us. The industry has a complete disregard for the communities in which they operate.

Our final tale comes from Windsor, where in October 2017 “an old well that was capped in 1984 began spilling oil on Colorado 60 east of U.S. 287."

We are the Erie Protectors. By residents, for residents. To find out more, visit our web site at https://erieprotectors.com , or find us on Facebook

Operators in the region were quick to respond to the well that had been drilled by an unknown operator in the 1920s or 1930s, but “an estimated 5 gallons to 6 gallons every minute” were spilling from the well.

at https://fb.com/erieprotectors and Twitter at @ErieProtectors. But odds are good that you’ll just see us around your neighborhood.

 Lessons learned? Oil & gas is forever. This blight upon our neighborhoods, open spaces, and environment has far-reaching implications. Operators come and go, but their impacts will remain long after we forget their names.

Christiaan van Woudenberg has lived in Erie for over 10 years. When he's not working as a software architect, he enjoys time with his fiancee and two daughters, photography, and collecting pop surrealist art. Often, he's skating in circles, yelling at girls as a roller derby referee.

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I love this town. Thanks, Erie. I love being here to help life go right ™ in a community where people are making a difference every day. Thank you for all you do.

Baille T Barbour, Agent 611 Mitchell Way Suite 106 Erie, CO 80516 Bus: 303-883-8888 baille.barbour.eckv@statefarm.com


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by David Hakimi


When looking to purchase a new home, the question inevitably comes up: New construction or resale? There are many different things to think about: the appeal of a new, shiny home that’s never been occupied compared with the charm of a previously-owned home in an established neighborhood. In Denver suburbs like Erie, Broomfield, Lafayette and Thornton, you have plenty of options when deciding between new construction or used home.    Here are some things to consider when looking at what kind of house you’ll be purchasing:    Pros of New Construction    Control—You’re in better control of the process. You’ll decide if you want a home with a traditional layout, or more contemporary home with a modern flow and an “open floor plan”. Finishing touches mean everything, and with a newly built home, you’ll get to personalize everything from the flooring choices and paint, to countertop material and quality of the kitchen appliances. Even if you’re not building a custom home, most tract homebuilders will still give you a wide variety of options to choose from!     Architecture—Builders make notable advances every 5 years! Innovative new architectural features like “his and hers” closets in the master, separated master bathroom sinks, upstairs laundry rooms that adjoin the master closet, and convenient bill-paying desks off the kitchen have all become common in just the last 5 years. Significant strides are made in home architecture, finishes, appliances and energy efficiency, every few years. Buying new, gets you the “state-of-the-art” on every aspect of the home.     Efficiency—Everything in a new home is built to current 2017 energy efficiency standards. Current appliances don’t use as much energy, and modern windows also help to keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Additionally, modern homes are now meticulously sealed

during the construction process, utilizing spray foam insulation that keeps them far more energy efficient than homes that were built just a decade ago in the early 2000’s.   Maintenance—Since your home and everything in it is new, most major repairs are still comfortably in the distant future. Warranties on your roof and your appliances can protect you from unexpected costs. A new home will typically give you close to a decade of worry-free living, before any major issues even begin to arise.     Amenities—New developments often come as part of a “master-planned community”. Parks, pools, and community spaces will all be built close to homes, schools, and transit. These “master-planned communities” are built to accommodate the growth and influx of new residents in a way that is convenient and comfortable. Many new communities have fitness centers and resort-style pools for the whole family to enjoy.    No Rush—Because new builds take an average of 5–6 months, you have time to prepare for your move. Packing can be done over time, you can find the furniture, window coverings, and even plan the placement of each room with plenty of time to spare. Plus, you can take your time selling your current home, which will considerably reduce your stress and afford you the luxury of holding out for the right offer.    No bidding wars—Because new construction lots and homes are released on a “first come, first served basis,” you won’t be subjected to the bidding wars, and appraisal issues that often plague the buyers of resale homes. *However, popular developments may have a waiting list for the most desirable lots, so there are still no guarantees that you’ll get your first pick of lot placement. 

Reduced closing costs—Builders routinely offer incentives that can be used to partially offset (or completely cover) the closing costs associated with the mortgage. Many builders offer incentives between $3,000 and $15,000 that can be used toward closing costs or design center options. This means that the buyer can purchase a home with far less cash required to close. *For example, a veteran using a VA loan is technically required to bring $0 down payment to satisfy the VA underwriting guidelines. However, the closing costs on a typical $450,000 home run around $10,000. Normally (on a resale home) the veteran would have to bring $10,000 cash to pay those closing costs. However, with a $10,000 builder-incentive in place, that veteran can use it to offset the lender’s closing costs, and truly close the VA loan with $0 down (or whatever minimum deposit the builder requires to hold the home).

Cons of New Construction More Expensive—Just like buying a brand new car, you will generally pay a premium to be the original owner. Having the privilege picking the exact finishes you want, and enjoying a few years of worry-free living with a warranty in place, commands a premium. For instance, new homes in Erie CO (the market I work in) typically go for 5%-10% more than the slightly older resale homes in the surrounding neighborhood. So, if you’re willing to consider the "slightly older" homes for sale in Erie CO, you will typically pay less and often get more square footage. Haggling over price—Dealing with the builder’s sales rep can be somewhat like buying a new car, with plenty of haggling over inclusions, incentives, and price. The process of contracting a home can be even more grueling than buying a new car, and sometimes takes up to four solid hours. The process of analyzing soil surveys and engineering reports for the lot, deciding on structural upgrades and carefully reading the builder’s 50–70-page contract, are all extremely taxing. Location—Some new developments are on the edge of the metro area, where there is still plenty of open land to build on. This can be temporarily inconvenient for your lifestyle, until shopping, gas stations, restaurants and amenities are eventually built in the new area. You may have to drive a little farther to do your shopping, as your commute to work/school may also increase. Landscaping—It will take some time for landscaping to mature, so shade trees and privacy may be harder to come by in your front and back yards. Not to mention, some builders will not provide back-yard privacy fences, sprinkler systems, or even grass in the yard. Furthermore, if the home is delivered during the winter months, it may be several months until grass can be planted in the spring. For dog-owners, this can be especially rough, especially if the dog tracks mud back into the home, every time you let it out to do its business! Coordinating the sharing of costs to build a back fence with the three adjoining neighbors can often be a huge headache as well! I’ve seen homes 2–4 years old, still missing fencing on one side, because a difficult neighbor refuses to cooperate and/or pitch-in their share. Window Coverings—Most builders do not include blinds or drapes on new homes. Therefore, you may be looking at $3,000– 10,000 to cover the windows, depending upon the grade of blinds, drapes, or plantation shutters you choose. This is usually crucial to take care of immediately, unless you want your new neighbors gazing into your bedrooms! Time—New builds take time and if you’re in a hurry, that can be problematic. You can still choose a pre-built “spec home” in a new development, but your floor plan and upgrade options will have already been chosen for you by the builder. If your lease is up soon and you have to time a quick move, building new construction from dirt, probably isn’t your best option. Interest Rate Lock Issues—The time needed to construct the home can also have major implications for your mortgage loan as well. Interest rates on mortgage loans, typically cannot be cost-effectively “locked-in” more than 60-90 days in advance of the closing date. Therefore, if the interest rates start to make significant hikes, the payment may end up being substantially higher than what you initially planned for. In the worst cases, a large enough rate hike may mean that you no longer qualify for the payment on the loan. Imagine waiting 11 months for the home, only to have the lender tell you that you no longer qualify to close on the home loan. Fortunately, this isn’t a common occurrence, but nevertheless it is a very real possibility. Ouch!

Peace and Quiet—New developments may still have a few years to go before the neighborhood is fully completed. Therefore, prepare yourself for life in a “construction-zone”. Large trucks, heavy machinery, and the sounds of hammers and power tools may be a daily fact of life, while the rest of the homes around you are completed. Flat Tires—Construction zones often have construction debris like metal strapping, nails and screws littering the roads. Flat tires on your vehicles will occur more often than builders like to admit. Potential for Foundation Settling—In places like Denver, CO, expansive soils can sometimes lead to foundation heaving and settling. This settling can potentially take up to 10 years to run its course. Builders are required to conduct a soil survey and engineering report on each lot they build on, so that they can build the home with the proper precautions and foundation type to minimize this risk. However, even the most diligently built homes can suffer from settling issues if the landscaping grade, sump pump, and/or French drain system aren’t properly functioning for some reason. Because of this, buying new can be slightly riskier than buying a 10-year-old home that has probably already settled all it’s going to.  Conclusion… As with any real estate transaction, it’s critical have a knowledgeable, reputable agent in your corner. Your agent can help you choose a reputable builder, and make sure you see past any “fluffy claims” the various builder’s salespeople make. It’s been our experience that if you talk with 10 different builders, all 10 will try to claim their homes are the best! Out of those 10, a few of them are building much better homes than the others. An experienced agent will make sure you know the difference between the truly good ones, and the wannabes simply making grand claims! Some builders cut corners and use cheaper materials or construction techniques. Hakimi Team agents are well trained on these things, and we can expertly guide you! In fact, you can download our Ultimate Builder Questionnaire here for free! You should ALWAYS exercise your right to bring an agent to represent you! Make no mistake… the builder’s sales reps are working in the builder’s best interests, not yours! An experienced agent will almost always get you far better terms and pricing than you would have gotten by approaching the builder on your own! Our team negotiates and reads builder contracts every day for a living. We understand how to push back on the builder’s rep and get our clients every available discount, every upgrade and all the hidden incentives the builder has at their disposal to offer. Contrary to popular misperception, having an agent represent you does not mean you will end up paying more for the home. In fact, a community sales manager from the popular builder, Toll Brothers, recently informed us that their budget for paying agents, is not tied directly to the price of each home!   She explained that almost all tract builders allocate a separate yearly fund for compensating the agents. She went on to emphasize that because builders depend so heavily on agents to bring them buyers, it would be a HUGE conflict of interest for them to offer lower pricing to the buyers who approach them without an agent. She made it very clear that the last thing any builder wants to do is alienate all the agents that play such a crucial role in helping them sell out their communities!

David Hakimi’s article “The Rookie Agent’s Guide to Selling New Construction” was recently published on the National Association of Realtors YP-Lounge blog and was a featured article on Realtor.com. David Hakimi literally “wrote the book” on helping clients buy new construction! David Hakimi lives in Erie, Colorado with his wife, son and daughter .He loves all that is Northern Colorado. Because of the volume of homes he sells and finds for his clients, his team, The Hakimi Team are the highest reviewed and one of the top producing realty groups in Colorado .David’s negotiation skills are second to none, as he has been in sales and finance for the last 25 years.



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POISE | PRIDE | DISCIPLINE An American Ninja Warrior’s Story By Claire Pearson “Number 12, you’re next! Are you ready?”, they yell my way. Ready? I’m not sure I’ll ever be. The American Ninja Warrior logo looms tall on one side of the set; the course expands on the other like a sleeping giant waiting for battle. Shaky legs escort me up the steps onto the start platform. Deafening noise of fellow athletes and family and strangers cheering from the sidelines greets my ears, as I see my children on the far side of the course, their huge expectant eyes glowing more pride than I’d ever thought possible! The START buzzer sounds, as instinct and adrenaline take over. Magically, somehow I’m moving, with an entirely blank mind with multiple muscles that seem to know what’s next. “The Floating Steps” are surprisingly easier than I had expected, but on the third step I jump with too much force and the underside of my shoulder hits the back of the step. I feel pressure and pain, and realize I have dislocated my shoulder! It was so casual at the time, not even something to think about. I hung my arm off the step and relocated my shoulder. After two more steps I jumped to grab the transition rope… and my shoulder dislocated again. There was nothing that could be done while hanging from a rope, so I spent what felt like an eternity tragically swinging around before getting to the dismount platform.

I laid on the platform with my arm extended, and ironically I relocated my shoulder once again. I knew something was very wrong, but so much adrenaline and endorphins were pumping through my body that I wasn’t feeling pain (in the normal sense). For the next obstacle I had to reach above my head for a ring, then jump off a platform into the air, attempting to hook the ring onto an anchor about 20 feet away, floating above the infamous water of ANW. I stretched up for the rings, then put my arms down. It hurt. Looking back, that was when I should have walked away. Instead, I tried again, this time holding onto the rings and launching into the air. As soon as my body weight was hanging from that shoulder, I heard a sickening snap (later, I was told that it was my shoulder dislocating again, with such force that it broke a chunk of bone off my humeral head while moving). The pain was severe, but I kept on trying to swing, using every amount of lower body force to generate momentum. After a few more attempts, and the realization that I had no upper body strength, all of a sudden, I fell into the water below. I walked to the edge, but the ANW crew had to pull me out of the water because I couldn’t use my arm. I was crying hysterically, with two cameras laser-focused on this tragedy. Fierce and sharp pain radiated through my arm, but all I really remember was repeating “It’s just not fair”, over and over.

I was taken to ER that night to put my shoulder back in place, and had surgery a week later to fix the labral and glenohumeral tendon tears with a humeral fracture that the course dished out. “It’s just not fair” is actually an understatement, as my history involves six other major shoulder and knee surgeries in the last six years (from motocross crashes and trail running injuries). I have been in a continual cycle of pain, surgery, rehabilitation and starting over physically for so long that it seems to be a “normal” part of my life. I have been at the lowest of low, laying on the floor in the gym crying, just struggling to hold my bodyweight in plank for a brief moment. Additionally, I have built myself back up from that state each time, to 40 pushups and being strong enough to tackle what felt like anything. To go through surgery yet again and start from the bottom (yet again) was more disappointing and disheartening than I can really put into words. I gradually dug myself out again, and am, very slowly, getting back to “normal”. I’m creating my audition tape for ANW Season 10. I will not let that run be the ending to my story. I’ve learned an incredible amount from getting hurt so much though - things that can be applied to anyone’s fitness journey, even if you’ve never been injured: 1. Create small, attainable goals! Too many people set up huge, lofty goals with no smaller-steps to get there, then jump in full-throttle and get too sore, too hurt, or too discouraged by their capabilities to continue. That is how most people quit before they even start. You need a professional who can help you create smaller, steppingstone goals, and identify when you’ve reached the appropriate time on which to build. 2. Something is better than nothing. On the other side of #1 are the people who decide that because they can’t

do much, they can’t do anything. If you hurt one limb you still have three others to train, and need the rest of your body strong to help heal yourself. Fitness is not all or nothing, pushing hard or sitting on the couch. If you have never worked out or are a seasoned exercise enthusiast nursing an injury, you have to start where you are. There is so much that can be done, and something is better than nothing. Find a professional who will identify for you the movements that are safe and effective and work from there. 3. Eat healthy. After an injury or on a weight-loss journey, you need optimal fuel. This means healthy food! Do not wallow in a pint of ice cream or drown your sorrows in Doritos. It’s very easy to gain fat, and hard to get it off, so don’t give yourself an even greater set-back by packing on pounds. Also, healthy nutritious foods assist in faster bone and tendon healing! No idea how to eat right? Again, seek a professional who can give you a solid nutrition plan to get you back to your goals! 4. Stay positive! It’s too easy to get into the ‘poor me’ thought process when we’re not where we want to be, which makes all the above advice even more difficult to follow. Setting small goals is helpful, as you will feel proud and motivated when you hit those goals. Finding gratitude is another easy way to stay positive – make a conscious effort to identify daily the things you are grateful for, even if they are quite small. Finally, give yourself credit for your efforts, no matter how small, with no comparison to anyone else. Your fitness journey is yours, no one else’s, and you need to applaud your efforts! I would never wish an injury upon someone else, but I am very grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and having a career where I can pass these lessons on to others. My job as a personal trainer goes far beyond helping a person achieve his or her physical goals. It is my goal to help people create stronger spirits!

Claire Pearson

The paperwork: ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor & Sports Performance Specialist. Schwinn Certified Indoor Cycle Instructor. BOSU Certified Instructor. TRX Certified Instructor. BODYSHRED Certified Instructor. NPC Bodybuilding competitor. Published author. Claire’s fitness philosophy: “We ALL have struggles & stress, not enough time, injuries, not enough support, self-doubt - the list goes on & on. I’ve experienced it all myself, and over time learned amazing strategies to cope with life’s challenges while staying mentally strong, exercising and reaching my goals. I’ve learned that fitness is really about mental fortitude. It’s about remaining positive in the face of adversity, whether that adversity is running through five more minutes of pain, or smiling through a really bad day. Fitness is about telling yourself, ‘yes, I can’, and then proving it. It’s about seeing past what you thought was possible, constantly growing, learning, being inspired and moving forward in life.” Favorite things to say: YES YOU CAN. BUT DID YOU DIE? ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. PROVE IT. When she’s not coaching: Motocross. Snowboard. Rock climb. Weight lift. Yoga. Road cycle. Mountain bike. Trail run. Play. Music. Friends & family.



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 AIRWAY PROBLEMS by Dr. Mark Barnes

Snoring, sleep-disordered breathing, and sleep apnea in children are associated with impaired attention, neurocognitive deficits and poor academic performance that is measurable in third grade children, according to a 2003 study by Urschitz and colleagues.1 Children should not snore when sleeping, at any age. Snoring even 1-2 nights per week indicates a potential sleep apnea disorder. Other signs are bedwetting (consistent), restless sleep (they move and thrash throughout the night), ADD/ADHD-like behavior and resistance going to sleep – to name a few more common symptoms. Some warning signs and symptoms are obviously-enlarged tonsils (if you can see them, they are probably too large, despite what the pediatrician may say), front teeth that don’t close (open bite), and retruded jaw. Dentists trained on TMJ and sleep disorders can evaluate children quickly by a history and clinical examination. Additional testing can provide a diagnosis. 

In the Urschitz study, snoring “always” was significantly associated with poor academic performance in math, science and spelling. This relationship was even seen in children who snored, but who didn’t have hypoxia (low oxygen at night). When evaluating children (up to age 16), adult criteria cannot be used. Children suffer negative effects in jaw growth, cognitive performance and TMJ problems that often arise because of a distortion in jaw growth. The effects of a sleep disorder in children affect growth of the mouth and face, which worsens the airway. Normal measurements of oxygen, apnea (stopping breathing), must be far more sensitive for children because of the significant effect of hypoxia on growth. These changes are notable visually and on craniofacial x-ray images. 2

Fortunately, today we have better clinical evaluations based on research, non-radiographic sound wave analysis of the airway, and 3D airway imaging of tonsils/adenoids that make restrictions easy to see. If identified early enough, removal of enlarged tonsils and adenoids can reverse the effects caused by your child not being able to breathe well; in one study, 77% of open bites and about 60% of cross-bites self-corrected after removing airway blockages from tonsils and adenoids3.  If your elementary or middle school child snores, has headaches, exhibits TMJ noises, or sleeps poorly, it would be beneficial to have him or her evaluated at our office for a potential sleep disorder. We will work with a physician to get a proper diagnosis and course of treatment using our knowledge of dental-facial growth and anatomy to make sure the airway is clear.  1. Urschitz, M.S., et al. Snoring, intermittent hypoxia and academic performance in primary school children. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 168, 464-468 (2003). 2. Ozdemir, H., et al. Craniofacial differences according to AHI scores of children with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome: cephalometric study in 39 patients. Pediatr Radiol 34, 393-399 (2004). 3. Hultcrantz, E., et al. The influence of tonsillar obstruction and tonsillectomy on facial growth and dental arch morphology. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol 22, 125-134 (1991).

Dr. Barnes has been practicing Dentistry with an emphasis treating TMJ pain patients, and providing Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea sufferers or snorers, who don’t tolerate CPAP, for over 30 years. Dr. Barnes graduated from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. He has extensive postgraduate training in TMD and holds prestigious membership and certifications.

"The difference between something good and something great is the attention to detail."- Chuck Swindoll

Anthony Canas





Remember how you felt when your kids were babies and they would cry? Other people might be bothered by crying, but we moms are undone by our babies' crying. I remember being shocked by my physiological reaction to my son's crying—I would become so distressed that I could hardly carry on a conversation as my blood pressure would rise. It was like the sound of nails on a chalkboard. I would do anything to help him stop crying. We now know that this reaction is not just "new mom craziness". It's actually a physiological reaction that all moms experience due to an interesting mix of hormones and brain chemistry. Fast forward a few years, and we learn that not every cry from our child is as pressing as the last. By the time they are toddlers, we learn that sometimes they cry out of frustration or boredom. We start to realize that we can't always make them "happy." We can't make the tears stop by simply feeding them or changing their diaper. They now have bigger emotions that they need help managing. It was at this point during my "parenting journey" that I realized that maybe my child's happiness shouldn't even be my goal in parenting. I slowly started to realize that there were some bigger emotional goals I had for my children than just happiness. The Lesson of the Old Boots This idea has stuck with me and came in handy the other day with my 8-year-old son. He was getting ready for school on the first snowy day of the season. It came a bit early this year, and I was not prepared with new snow boots, gloves, etc. He started putting on last year's boots, and they were a bit worse-for-wear, if you know what I mean. Some parts were torn, and the strap didn't tighten as well as it should. He was getting more and more frustrated, complaining about how he needed new boots. I explained that I was planning to get new ones, but I just hadn't gotten to it yet. He was about to lose it when another thought popped into my mind. Before even thinking about it much, I blurted out, "You know, some kids in the world don't even have boots. They have to walk to school in the snow with just regular shoes on." Okay, I realize I just sounded like my mother (or grandmother). The words just came pouring out of me before I even could consider them. But… it worked! He settled down, put his boots on and went to school quite nicely. Looking Beyond Happiness "Why was this helpful to him?" I wondered. Then it hit me. He didn't need for me to "fix" the situation of the boots. He was old enough and capable enough to deal with torn boots for one day. He needed me to hear his feelings and most importantly, he needed me to provide a context of meaning. By giving him some meaning for his frustrations, I gave him an emotional coping strategy for his situation. This is ultimately what parents do—we are the meaning-makers for our kids until they find ways to make meaning for themselves. Now this situation was minor and almost insignificant, but consider all the other situations that he might face in the future that I will not be able to "fix": the first time a girlfriend breaks his heart, that time he bombs a test in college, or that first job that he doesn't land. Even if I had all the resources or connections in the world, I would not be able to take away these struggles or moments of suffering. Unlike when he was a baby, I can't make him happy now by stopping the source of his discomfort. The discomfort I feel because of his suffering is not easily pushed away either. This is why I quit making his happiness my main goal. I started looking beyond happiness at some deeper emotional skills that will serve him better.

A Hand to Hold This reminds me of all those research articles I read while working on my dissertation (I knew those would come in handy someday). I was working on a project that studied how moms coped with divorce, so I read copious research on "stress coping and meaning". What we see is that one key way people cope with stressful events is by making some sort of meaning from it. Most of this research focuses on very stressful life events like divorce, death, or being the victim of a violent crime. But the lesson here for smaller stressful events is the same—finding meaning in our suffering is perhaps one of the best coping strategies we can employ. For parents, what this means I think is that we can't always take away our children's suffering, but we can help them find some meaning in it. In other words, we can't "stuff" down their emotions—but we can hold their hands and walk beside them while they sort through those difficult emotions to find some peace on the other side. Ultimately, meaning—not happiness—is the best gift we can give our children.

Amy lives in Erie with her husband and two energetic boys. While her PhD is in Human Development and Family Sciences, her best education in parenting (and life) have been her two boys. While completing her degree, she realized there was not enough research-based parenting and child development information that was easy to understand for the average parent. Much of the research done by university scholars is not easily accessible to parents. With her writing, she hopes to provide thought-provoking and insightful information that will be useful to parents. She doesn't pretend to be a parenting expert, but rather a translator of research into a parent-friendly format.

www.thoughtfulparent.com amypwebb@gmail.com

Danielle T Patnode Financial Advisor MKT-8275B-A-AD


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do you want to live a life you’re proud of?

by Rebakeh Zorgdrager

Are you proud of the life you’re living? Or do you have moments, days or weeks where your circumstances push you to say things, behave in ways or make commitments that don’t reflect what you actually care about? Let’s be honest – we all find ourselves in that place on occasion; living out of a busy, frazzled, powerless state. It’s not much fun, is it? If you’re ready to do something about that dynamic in your life, here’s the most important realization you need for 2018. Something that will help you follow through more and get in your own way less.  Common sense isn’t common knowledge or common nature.  Ok, what does that mean? Why is it important? I’m so glad you asked! There’s a lot of "common sense wisdom" floating around that’s really great information. The kind of thing that, when you hear it, it just makes sense. You know what I’m talking about: “If you want to save money – spend less than you earn.” “If you’re lonely – pick up the phone and call a friend.” “If you want to learn something new – spend time doing that thing every day.” You get my drift… These sentences all represent some "common sense wisdom". You hear it, read it, and it just makes sense. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize common sense.

do you want to live a life you’re proud of? But just because something makes sense doesn’t mean its information we’re aware of or living by on a daily basis. Common sense is so simple, it’s easy to dismiss or ignore when we hear it. It takes humility and courage to acknowledge there may be simple, easy-to-understand truths you’re completely unaware of or have been ignoring. Ah, but it gets trickier from there. Because once we know something consciously, most of us assume we’ll easily, naturally align our actions with this knowledge. Yet even as you read that sentence you probably realized that this often doesn’t happen! Why is this?

The answer won't always seem clear. Sometimes you’ll forget to ask. Nevertheless, the more you use this question – the more you’ll remember to ask it (and the more you ask it the better you’ll get at knowing your answer with confidence). You can do it!

Common nature often leads us to save energy in the moment, even when it costs us more in the long run. Common sense usually requires more energy in the moment in order to save energy in the long run. This is where the breakdown occurs. If we’re not paying attention, most of us will behave in a way that saves our effort or energy in the moment, because that’s literally what will “feel” and “seem” best. Paying attention allows us to see the bigger picture and reminds us that a little more effort right now will result in a significant savings later, sometimes in as little as five minutes! It’s hard to gain that self-awareness on your own without accountability and outside perspective. However, if you want to take a small step toward living a life you’re proud of, now you can begin by regularly asking yourself this question, “Am I about to do what’s easiest or what’s best?"

Bekah Zorgdrager is an organizational strategist and coach. She’s passionate about helping close the gap between intention and action for both organizations and individuals. If you’re ready for action get in touch at www.growstrategic.ly or check out Bekah’s podcast at www.thedistillery.group. Don’t wast anymore time, take the action you need to live a life you’re proud off! **Mention ELIFE Magazine in your subject line and we’ll schedule a complimentary discovery phone call.

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3 4

by Wira Babiak 1. Wira Babiak in action 2. Winter Trees 3. View of Erie Parkway Bridge 4. Setting up in the frigid temps


5. Before Compas Development, Arapahoe and County Line \ Art Inspirations

THE CHALLENGE OF PLEIN AIR (OUTDOOR) PAINTING IN WINTERY WEATHER Painting outside in winter is special. It is not for all of the warm-hearted. In the cold, an artist needs to set up his or her station and paint without gloves! Next is arranging the colors on the palette and selecting the brushes and knives to be used on the canvas to paint. The next arduous task is to don the latex gloves, so as not to get paint and mineral spirits on the hands. Put on a hat, hope the wind decides not to blow and start thinking about a snowy white composition. The scene may come easily, or it could take up to several minutes to plan out. Will there be only that one tree or several to be painted on the canvas? That brook or just the snow drift? Then there is the stillness in the air to catch. So, you think snow is white? Artists may stare at snow for some time before beginning the scene. Snow is not actually white. It is blue, purple, pink—reds and yellows mixed into a little bit of white. Therefore, what really makes a wintry cold-feeling painting? Is it the stillness in the air? The shifting of the wind on the tree branches or blowing snow drifts off fence posts? The artist tightens up the scarf around the neck. He or she squints at the tree branches and starts lightly layering the branches with brush strokes resembling snow, maybe thinking about the buds that will appear next Spring. The painting procedure has begun!  Saying “he or she” isn’t necessary these days.   Alternate version with “she” since Wira is a lady (could also use the accepted singular “they”):  Painting outside in winter is special. It is not for all of the warm-hearted. In the cold, an artist needs to set up her station and paint without gloves! Next is arranging the colors on the palette and selecting the brushes and knives to be used on the canvas to paint. The next arduous task is to don the latex gloves, so as not to get paint and mineral spirits on the hands. Put on a hat, hope the wind decides not to blow and start thinking about a snowy white composition. The scene may come easily, or it could take up to several minutes to plan out. Will there be only that one tree or several to be painted on the canvas? That brook or just the snow drift? Then there is the stillness in the air to catch.  So, you think snow is white? Artists may stare at snow for some time before beginning the scene. Snow is not actually white. It is blue, purple, pink—reds and yellows mixed into a little bit of white. Therefore, what really makes a wintry cold-feeling painting? Is it the stillness in the air? The shifting of the wind on the tree branches or blowing snow drifts off fence posts? The artist tightens up the scarf around her neck. She squints at the tree branches and starts lightly layering the branches with brush strokes resembling snow, maybe thinking about the buds that will appear next Spring. The painting procedure has begun! 

Wira (Vera) Babiak, is a local Erie artist and a member of High Plains Artists, Louisville, Boulder and Longmont Art Associations. Her works can be currently seen at the Erie Animal Hospital, KCP Art Gallery in Longmont, Main Street Gallery in New York and was featured at the Louisville Arts Association art show and the Longmont Art Association art show. Wira holds a BA in Sociology from CU Boulder, and a Masters is Public Administration from CU Denver.  She worked at CU as an MBA Advisor, Mechanical Engineering Advisor and retired as an Art/Art History Advisor.  Wira has won several art show placement ribbons and judges in art shows all over the world.  For more information check out her website at: wirababiakartwork.weebly.com.  She moved from Boulder and has lived in Erie for the last eight years.

The Story Behind Ascent  As a local Erie resident I specialize in finding  my clients 2-3 year old  off lease vehicles at a substantial discount over  typical retail prices. Allow me to find your perfect vehicle match  No haggle, no hassle buying experience  Please let me know how I can assist.   Brett


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TIPS TO KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE THIS WINTER • Instead of extended walks in cold temperatures, take your dog on shorter, more frequent walks. • If you must buy ice melt, be sure it is "pet safe". • If you walk your dog near storefronts or roads that use rock salt, do not allow your dog to lick their paws clean. Instead, clean their paws for them. • Clumps of snow can be painful in a dog’s paw. Help them out by scooping packed snow out of their paw when they seem distressed or if they’re standing on 3 legs. You may need to trim the fur on your dog’s paws in the winter months to reduce painful ice clumps.  • Very young, old or wet animals are at greater risk of hypothermia and frostbite. • Provide dog jackets or sweaters (and sometimes boots).  • Senior pets need close monitoring and careful consideration in the colder weather. Arthritis worsens, joints stiffen, and pets are less nimble to recover from slips on ice.  • Parked cars get very cold quickly.  • Some dog breeds, like the Alaskan Klee-Kai, have a very dense coat which insulates heat to give them a higher tolerance for cold temperatures. Most dog breeds (AND CATS!) are not equipped to withstand very cold weather. So, if it's too cold for you, it's probably too cold for your pets. Bring them inside! • If you’re concerned about the welfare of an animal, PLEASE SPEAK UP! Attempt to have a polite conversation with the animal’s owner first. If need be, contact local law enforcement agencies to follow through.

FUN GAMES WITH DOGS AND SNOW • Make a big snow ball, then encourage and reward your dog for hopping on and off. Improve your dog’s balance, focus, impulse control, obedience and confidence by challenging him to perch up there until you give the release command. Remember to cheer him on and have fun, just like this video here: https://www.facebook.com/ ErieDogCo/videos/vb.984333541642228/1506591639416413/?type=2&theater • Head outside with your broomstick and dog food. Hold your broomstick upside down and poke holes in the fresh snow and then drop some dog food down the hole. Then bring your pup outside and have him “FIND IT!” Depending on how often you play nosework games, you may need to provide hand and leash guidance. You can use some stinky and enticing food like pepperoni, bacon or fish to help your dog at first, and be sure to make a big fuss at how smart your dog is when she finds the food!  

Jaime Bessko lives in Erie, Colorado with her husband, 2 boys, 2 cats and 2 dogs. She’s a dog trainer and the owner of ERIE DOG CO. She has always had a way with animals and made a great impact training service dogs at International Hearing Dog in Henderson, Colorado. Jaime’s philosophy on working with dogs is to communicate clearly, be consistent, praise your dog and HAVE FUN! Some of her favorite pastimes are hiking, snowboarding, painting, reading and enjoying Phish. Jaime can be reached at https://eriedogco.com


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Sometimes when you think you've rescued a dog, it turns out that they have rescued you.

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We rescue unwanted and stray dogs and cats from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and other Reservations in South Dakota. We are a 501c3

Discover ELIFEMagazine.org Visit elifemagazine.org and enjoy an “at your fingertips” Erie specific directory featuring local businesses, an upcoming events calendar, e-pons for great savings with your favorite vendors, blogs, full company profiles and more. elifemagazine.org also contains links to view all of our previously published ELIFE issues. So take the time to visit elifemagazine.org and enjoy the opportunity to catch-up on anything you might have either missed or didn’t even know was right around the proverbial corner. And don’t miss the perks of becoming a directory member ... Businesses that join the directory enjoy the luxury of attending all networking events for FREE via ELIFEmastermind FB page. Also be sure to follow the ELIFE magazine Facebook page for your opportunity to WIN a variety of contests and local swag!


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ACHIEVE GREATER IMPACT THROUGH CREATIVE BRANDING AND MARKETING STRATEGIES. For over 25 years, Trisha Ventker has been developing solutions and implementing methods that make things happen. She started her first business at the age of 20, worked as an educator, speaker, video production manager and photographer for over 25 years. Trisha makes people confront comfort zones in a kind way. “Can’t be done” is not in her repertoire . Trisha has authored three books and has appeared on a myriad of media. Her forte is marketing print, broadcast, and online media outlets. Ventker is a serial entrepreneur and branding expert. Ventker develops brand strategies with a holistic approach to brand communications so that a company's brand touch-points (corporate identity, product design, web site, retail environment, online marketing, traditional advertising, PR and word of mouth) all work in harmony to create a favorable perception in the mind of the consumer, increasing the chances of positively affecting purchase behavior. Trisha Ventker's specialty includes how consumers process information, how they attend to, perceive, process and store that information; and how they retrieve and act on previous information from memory. Ventker focuses on the mind, perception, cognitive psychology, human nature and brain science to form a deep understanding of how people think and what makes them do, buy and love the things they do. Just because you love your business doesn't mean it's always easy to tell your company's story to the world. It works the same way when you are an entrepreneur. It's difficult to brand yourself. That's where Trisha comes into play. Proper branding is part art, part science.

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ELIFE Winter 2018  

With the holidays behind us, winter is in full force. Some days here, we have temps in the twenties and the next day the temperature could b...

ELIFE Winter 2018  

With the holidays behind us, winter is in full force. Some days here, we have temps in the twenties and the next day the temperature could b...

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