Finding My Peace at Mountain Peace Shelter

"A house, where a woman is not safe, is not a home." -Woman, Liberia

Small towns. A place where everyone knows your name and your business. The good and bad of small town living is embracing a close-knit community that supports one another but can end up being a bit nosey. Which, in the case of domestic violence, can provide a valuable safety net.

For me, service is a way of life. That's why I ended up as a volunteer for Mountain Peace Shelter (MPS). I'd been itching for a way to give back to the community for the last 6 months, and after talking with Donna, a friend who works at Mountain Peace Shelter, she provided a great option. It not only provided a much needed service, but provided nourishment and peace to my busy life, as well. Using the flexibility of their crisis line volunteer schedule, I could do it in the comfort of my own home, or wherever I happened to be. A few weeks later found myself at my first volunteer training course.

Over the span of two days I learned a lot about domestic violence that I hadn't known before, and I left the training determined to do two things:

  1. Use my platform as a writer to get the word out about the good work Mountain Peace Shelter (MPS) is doing.
  2. Learn as much as I can about Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence.

I planned my interviews with Lori Cuno, the Executive Director of MPS, Donna Thornton, the Crisis Line Coordinator and Crisis Advocate, and Curt Robinson, the President of MPS Board. Kathy Mastroianni, former Executive Director of MPS, was available as well, to share more about what MPS was all about.

After meeting with the staff at MPS, I knew that sharing their stories would tell you all you needed to know about why I fulfilled my desire to give back to the community. It also tells you why it matters to you.

The passion and warmth in their voices communicated the importance of what was happening at the shelter, as well as the love they are already receiving from the mountain town communities. Each person's commitment told a story before saying a word.

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Chambers of Commerce 2018 Award Winners

If Evergreen and Conifer had anything to brag about and get just a little giddy, it is the extraordinary residents that offer everything you need to live. But it's more than that isn't it? Hey, we all love creature comforts, good food and great deals, but what makes the Mountain Towns unique is...heart. Loyalty and Commitment-Driven relationships that foster community.

If you've lived here long enough, you have probably experienced families and neighbors coming together for a good cause. Well that takes more than just showing up. It takes getting involved. It takes dedication, hard work, and … moxie. You know, Moxie. A force of character, determination and sheer nerve. Take a look at the Evergreen and Conifer Chambers of Commerce Award Winners this year for the best local examples.

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Chamber of Commerce 2017/2018 Annual Awards Are Here!

It's finally that time again folks!

Time for the 2018 Evergreen and Conifer Area Chamber of Commerce Award Ceremonies where you will have the opportunity to find out those individuals, businesses, and nonprofits whom their peers believe have served the community the best this past year. Not only will you have a chance to cheer on the best of the best in the community, but get ready to rub elbows with amazing people and have a fun time socializing and eating great food.

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The Rich History of the 285 Corridor

It can be hard to imagine life along the 285 corridor before cars, shopping centers, restaurants, and businesses, but this was the landscape of the area as little as 100 years ago. The pioneers of Conifer, Pine, and Bailey are the founders of these beautiful places where we reside and run our businesses. Those brave souls faced the harsh Colorado winters without snow plows and 4WD vehicles. They braved the elements (and wildlife) before indoor plumbing. They farmed the land and spent a day and a half in their wagons to take crops to The Brown Palace in Downtown Denver for sale. They built the railroad that opened commerce to the Bailey area and beyond. And they are the ones who laid the cobblestones of the towns we love.

From the collection of the Littleton Museum. May not be reproduced in any form without permission of the Littleton Museum.

Mountain life in Colorado had many hardships and those pioneers endured it all. Think about this - if you have lived in the Corridor for a while, you've experienced winter storms that dumped feet of snow on top of us. We are lucky to have machinery available to help us with the load, but these pioneers relied on their tools and hands. They were snowed in for days, weeks, and possibly even months while they enjoyed the beauty this area has to offer.

Today, we are fortunate to have the ancestors of these strong and resilient pioneers give us the stories and memories of their family members. With careful preservation, those stories continue to be passed down long after they have departed. A sense of community brought the pioneers of the corridor together, just the same as it does today.

It's this story of friendship that opened the door of history for me.

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10 Awesome Places to Shop Local in Conifer

It's hard to think about Christmas shopping and festivities when the weather is so beautiful. The temperatures are in the mid-50's, for crying out loud! But that's exactly how my friend Heather and I started our Small Business Saturday journey in Conifer, Colorado. Beautiful weather and a treasure hunt for hidden bargains, new friendships, and a better understanding of just what it was like to shop local in the My Mountain Town Community for the holidays.  

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A Real-World look at Fire Mitigation and the effects on all of us

 "What's the difference between reading a resource document and finding a reason for getting involved?" I asked Heather Galaska when we spoke of Fire Mitigation in her childhood home of Evergreen, Colorado. Here's how my time with her went.

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The "I Love U Guys" Foundation

PEACE - "It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart."

When I got the heads up that September was a special month for the mountain community of Bailey, Colorado, I had to ask why. Turns out it's a month of remembrance for Emily Keyes, the catalyst for the "I Love U Guys" Foundation. This, friends, is a big deal. Here's why:

"On September 27th, 2006, a gunman entered Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colorado, held seven girl's hostage and ultimately shot and killed Emily Keyes. During the time she was held hostage, Emily sent her parents text messages… 'I love you guys' and 'I love u guys, k?' Emily's kindness, spirit, fierce joy, and the dignity and grace that followed this tragic event define the core of the 'I Love U Guys' Foundation - The Standard Response Protocol PK-2 Manual, I love U Guys Foundation Curriculum Toolkit.

I had the opportunity to meet with Emily's parents and get a feel for the dignity and grace that followed. Although the tragedy was real and is still keenly felt, this story is about what happened AFTER the tragedy hit. And friends, this is where the community​ that My Mountain Town is so incredibly proud to be a part of stepped up.
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Recent Comments
Sharon Trilk
This article made me cry. Twice. Learning that our kids want to be involved in planning for emergencies, realizing they can handle... Read More
Friday, 29 September 2017 18:26
Sharon Montgomery
You are so welcome! Agreed! There are so many ways to get behind this cause with money and time contributions. But truly, it ult... Read More
Saturday, 30 September 2017 14:47
Heather Galaska
This is a beautiful article! Thank you so much for sharing their story.
Saturday, 30 September 2017 14:11
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Everybody loves a good story.

And have I got one for you!

This story starts out with a runaway truck barreling into a building. Then, wine turns into water. BAM! There's an epic community Kumbaya, and a huge cliffhanger at the end. Are you hankering for a good love story? Or maybe a great action and adventure? A heart-warming western? Read on if you want all the details, my friends. It's about to get good.

Or, read on if you want an update on the Aspen Peak Cellars Winery in Bailey, Colorado.

It's the same story, after all.

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Having Fun in Beautiful Bailey Colorado

A weekend is a sacred thing, isn't it?

Whether our weekends start on a Friday, a Tuesday, or somewhere in between, they are something to be cherished. They provide a well-deserved break between the drudgery of consecutive work days and we become the masters of our own destiny for those short, blessedly unallocated hours.

My own imagination starts percolating right around the time Tuesday shows up. I think, "I could sleep, around the clock, for the entire weekend!" or "I may just lounge around in my skivvies and binge watch the latest Netflix season." I COULD do those things, but my adventurous side wins over. "What road trip would take me to someplace I've never seen before?" I think, and usually go with that.

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Sharon Trilk
I haven't had a chance to attend the Car Show yet myself, but I love cars and hope to make it one of these years! My Mountain Town... Read More
Sunday, 06 August 2017 18:18
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Good Finds in Conifer Colorado

 -There's nothing like a good find.

Unearthing a forgotten or buried treasure (whether it was hidden months or decades ago) is a thrill. I know you know what I mean. So do antique shops, who take pride in their people traveling miles for a coveted candy dish. Swap meets, flea markets, and garage sales bank on the good finds, too. They count on the theory that "One man's trash is another man's treasure." My own Aunt Fran makes her living by it, mining nuggets of genealogy for curious folks who are eager to know whether their ancestors are heroes, villains, or just plain folk like us. (You're reading one of her edits today, in fact. She's just that good.)

I'm taking a page out of Aunt Fran's book this week and going on my own historical treasure hunt. It's my adventure and privilege to unearth the good finds around Conifer, Colorado. It's a little piece of heaven nestled in the foothills about 15 miles southwest of Denver going West up Highway 285. Conifer has a long history of treasure seekers, being first used as plentiful hunting grounds by the Arapaho, Ute and Cheyenne tribes, and then sheltering miners, trappers, and a plethora of pioneering souls who happened upon the place.

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So Many Treasures

You know those weird neighbors that have nothing in common with you? The nosy ones that stare through your window to see what's up in your world just so they can tell you how to do your life better? Those sort of neighbors make living in a community a challenge sometimes. I've been known to hunch my shoulders and run inside as they start to come my way. You may have done the same thing, too. But this year, this year ... I don't have those neighbors AT ALL. I'm talking about the other ones. The awesome ones. The neighbors we all cross our fingers for when the moving van pulls up.

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If you're a resident of the towns that make up the Jefferson, Park, and Clear Creek Counties of Colorado, you've probably heard that same phrase from every tourist that crosses your beautiful trails and frequent your shops.
You, dear Mountain Town Folk, are patient, generous people. When this phrase comes your way, you are known to open your lives and history to those who want to know more...

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Introducing Sharon Montgomery

Spring has settled upon Colorado with great aplomb. I thought "Sprinter" would never end, what with 75 degree days battling doily-sized snowflakes. But with one last hail storm, Mother Nature made her choice. Inviting temperatures, beautiful blossoms, and most importantly...The Sun!

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