Pam Russell, a spokesperson for the 1st Judicial District Attorney's Office, confirmed Thursday that the investigation is being presented to a grand jury, but declined to speak further about the case.
The fire happened early May 14 at 6152 Robb St., which was operated by Parker Personal Care Homes as a host home for developmentally disabled individuals.
A 39-year-old disabled woman, a young mother and her 4-year-old daughter died of smoke inhalation, according to the Jefferson County coroner's report. The mother had burns to her airways and lungs.
Details about the fire, including any potential causes, have yet to be released by fire investigators or DA's office.
In Jefferson County, grand juries can be used to investigate, and charge criminal violations. According to the county's website, Jeffco grand juries are comprised of 12 citizens, just like a trial jury. They are selected at random from voter registration rolls and Department of Motor Vehicles list of registered drivers.
Also according to the county website, a grand jury has the ability to obtain records not generally available to prosecutors in other investigations, and can also require reluctant witnesses to testify before the group.]]>
The current production, "I'll Be Home for Christmas," is an original musical that features music and lyrics by David Nehls, who has been the Arvada Center's music director for many, many years. The book (story/dialogue) was written by Kenn McLaughlin. Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck created the inventive choreography. This is the first time a production has been conceived and produced by the talented personnel at the Arvada Center. This is a very ambitious undertaking ... and it paid off. Kudos to Arvada Center Artistic Producer (Musicals) Rod A. Lansberry for supporting this venture.
The story takes us back to 1969, and the Bright family is preparing for their annual Christmas show, a highly anticipated national television event. When the show began, I thought, "This is going to be completely formulaic. It will be easy to predict and the tunes will sound like every other holiday song." I am delighted to say I was completely wrong. As the story unfolded, it turned out to be fresh and unexpected. I couldn't predict what would happen next. And the music was unexpectedly refreshing and creative.
The parents Noah Racey (dad/Dana) and Megan Van De Hey (mom/Louise), along with Kim McClay (daughter/Maggie), are greatly missing their son/brother Jake Mendes (Simon). Now here's where I began to think, "I've seen this before ... Simon arrives to surprise the family for Christmas." But from then on, the story takes unexpected twists and turns and I found myself completely engrossed in a brand new experience.
The talented cast is directed by Gavin Mayer (whom I first met when he was the drama coach at Pomona High School). The clever set by Brian Mallgrave created the tone of a live radio broadcast. The costumes by Samantha R. De La Fuente-Menche were quintessential 1969.
This is must-see theater. "I'll Be Home for Christmas," runs through Dec. 23. The show is wonderful for the whole family. For tickets and info, call 720-898-7200 or visit www.arvadacenter.org.
Apex show was charmer
"A Disney Christmas" was presented last week by the Apex Therapeutic Recreation Department
It's too late for you to enjoy this delightful holiday tradition this year. It took place at the Apex Community Center on Dec. 1, but it's an annual event so watch for it next year.
This inspiring adventure is directed and choreographed by Chris Duncan, a personal trainer and fitness instructor at the Apex Rec Center. Chris volunteers her time from September to December to give these special people an opportunity to perform for their families and friends. While the participants have a wide range of abilities, the things that remain constant are their joy, enthusiasm and excitement at being on stage and in costume.
Watching the pure delight on their faces as they executed their routines and sang along to the recorded tracks was something I'll remember for a very long time. Thanks, Chris, for the love and dedication you give to this wonderful concept.
Columnist Harriet Hunter Ford may be reached at email@example.com.
Turn a shoe box into a cash register. Then add some real or play money, things to buy and sell, small box attached to a string for a scanner, shopping bags, sale signs and clerk's name tag. Children can draw signs or make a little newspaper ad.
Practice playing store at home or at a children's museum play store. Stuffed animals and dolls can go "shopping" with you and also learn to make wise economic choices.
You can make rectangles of paper marked with $1 for easy counting and bring a handful of pennies for the register. For store merchandise use Play Dough or real food items, toys, Lego construction, books, dolls, stuffed animals, anything around the house.
Together, put prices on items and display them in columns and rows on a counter top. Sort materials according to categories - certain colored cars go together, etc. Keep it simple. Each item is worth $1 or a few cents to start. Have a conversation about what items will sell the best and why. Conversation is a key ingredient in preparing children to read.
Now take turns choosing items and checking out. Purposely, have enough money for some items and not enough for others so you are forced to make choices. Play act that you are disappointed you don't have enough money but handle that disappointment well. Practice saying, "Oh, well, maybe later. I will save up my money." What a useful economic phrase to teach! It's also a good way to teach preschool children to work through a disappointment without a tantrum.
You are also teaching opportunity cost. This is choosing one thing between several equally desired ones. This important concept teaches children that sometimes you can't have everything you want. Sometimes you must give up the opportunity now.
When interest wanes, pack up the store for later. The key to preschool care is a variety of short activities varying between active and quiet times with rest and nutritious snacks.
Learning responsible personal finance begins in preschool. Teaching opportunity cost and "maybe later" helps with other experiences in life when children must make difficult choices.
Esther Macalady lives in Golden. Grandparents Teach Too is an organization that helps families prepare young children for success in school and a lifetime love of learning. More information and podcasts at www.grandparetsteachtoo.org and www.grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com
Ten days earlier, I had flown to Brazil to attend the wedding of a close childhood friend of my son-in-law, Wagner. The wedding was held in a majestic ancient Catholic church where my son-in-law was confirmed as a child. I felt moved by the grandeur and history of the church as I witnessed the wedding.
The wedding was celebrated in Portuguese, which I do not speak very well. But what I did understand was how personal history and community surrounding this church were coming together for the wedding. I felt honored to have been invited by the bride and my son-in-law's family to join them for this special event.
On my overnight flight back to Colorado, from the magazine rack by my seat I selected a copy of the Economist. I discovered a book review about a new book by Nick Spencer, who is research director at Theos, a think tank in London: "The Evolution of the West: How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values."
In the review, Spencer's book is quoted: "The Christianization of Europe was not a bunch of reactionary clerics trying to shut down a noble, free, secular ancient world, but a new idea of a voluntary basis for human association in which people joined together through will and love rather than blood or shared material objectives."
I thought about the families I met at the wedding in Brazil who don't appear pious-religious but are connected through "will and love."
And then I thought about the United States and Colorado, my home.
Personally, I believe because of the decline in church attendance and fragmented families in America, many of us sense a profound loss of community. Some of us look to our president to take over the spiritual leadership of a priest, pastor, rabbi or iman. Unfortunately, presidents cannot fill that need for connecting us together in our communities, and it is not in their job description.
As I have been through a divorce in 2004, causing me to move from Evergreen to Wheat Ridge in 2010, I have experienced the loss of my old faith community. Through my marriage to Dick in 2009, nurturing friendships, I am rebuilding community in church and otherwise.
The review in "The Economist" of Nick Spencer's book resonates with me, especially this quote, "People still want more than just freedom and choice. They want to belong, they want community rooted in something shared and they want to find meaning beyond themselves."
Mary McFerren Stobie is a freelance columnist living in Wheat Ridge. Her columns are syndicated by Senior Wire News Service and go60.us. She is the author of "You Fall Off, You Get Back On." Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.marystobie.com.
Season of what? you may ask. Season of apostrophed words ('Twas the Night...)? Season of Joy (as long as you stay far away from malls)? Season of Miracles (if you believe Hans Gruber)? Season of Magic (to go along with old Ebenezer Scrooge)? How about Season of Wonder? (That's my favorite).
What is "wonder?"
Well, Webster's defines wonder as "a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar or inexplicable." There - does that clear it up for you?
The reason wonder is such an enigma is that we, in latter-day America, rarely encounter something inexplicable. We have elevated science and reason - both wonderful fields - to the point that mysteries and faith have a diminished role in our lives. When all else fails, we turn to our ubiquitous technology to get an explanation and rarely have a chance to just experience the strange and beautiful.
But children have that capacity: Children don't need explanations for everything they see - though they will ask for them endlessly. And, I think, the idea that the Christmas season is the time of year that we focus on the joy of children is also the reason this is the season of wonder.
I know, I know, we're busy. We're, ya know, grown-ups, and we have things to do and, on top of that, we have shopping to accomplish and parties to plan and ...yadda yadda yadda. And that's why wonder dies. And, sometimes, the problem is that we build all these expectations around the season, whether it's for romance, or for the perfect Thomas Kincaid-like snowfall to blanket the city, or even for our holiday bonuses (Clark Griswold!). And when they don't come through, our spirit is slightly subdued.
Really, how many times, when you're making your pilgrimages up to Colorado Mills for the stupid Secret Santa present (admit it-you've called it that before!), do you take a second and notice how beautiful the trees are for the half-mile lining the highway, when they're all lit up? How often do you notice complete strangers walking around that mall whistling Christmas tunes? Or do you pause at the smell of pine and cinnamon wafting out of stores?
Me? I'm that guy who knows every house in the neighborhood that decorates at Christmastime. It's something I look forward to every year, and, when one of the houses I know doesn't decorate, it makes me a little bit sad, and I wonder if there's something going on in that house. On the other hand, discovering a new house that does have decorations, that never did before, is one of the weird little joys I get during this season. And, with as dry and brown as everything is right now, those lights are among the few beautiful things to enjoy so far this winter.
By the way, that last sentence? That's like a writer's "snow dance" - the literary equivalent of washing your car when a snowstorm is supposed to be on its way.
Of course, wonder is the reason for the whole season to begin with. Even if you don't believe this, and regardless of how you feel about certain adherents to this belief, don't you have to pause for a second and be awed that one of the major faiths in the world believes that God chose to become human, to live as one of us for a time, and that's the reason we celebrate Christmas? It blows my mind!
Wonder is an inextricable part of this season, and I would encourage you to slow down, look up every once in a while, take in your surroundings, and enjoy it. It's, well, um.... it's wonderful.
Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His novels are available at MichaelJAlcorn.com
The jolly old elf will return to Olde Town Square, 57th & Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17. Photos are free, but visitors are encouraged to bring canned food donations that will be donated to the food bank at The Rising Church. Carriage rides are $10 per adult, $5 per child 2-16.
The Bluegrass will be on site with hot chocolate and holiday treats for purchase.]]>
I also mourn the loss of the Renewable Energy Labs and of our country. One thing we can do as a county is to ensure that we do not leave our vehicles running when they are not in motion.
Every day I see people sitting in their vehicles with the motor running while they send a text or make a phone call.
Yesterday I bought gas and the car next to me was left running while he fueled it (bad idea) and then he went into the station, purchased a sandwich, and leaned against his car, still running, to eat his sandwich! A car does not need to be running in order to send a text or eat lunch and for each minute it is running, it is adding poisonous carbon dioxide to our already foul air. Newer model cars do not need to be "warmed up" and in fact should not be. If drivers are too cold or too warm, they should go into a building.
Without clean air and clean water nothing else matters.