2014 Shave the Mayor and Wish Week for Shelby

SHAVEMAYOR_WEBThis past month I had the honor to participate in two events that have truly changed my perspective on life and community involvement. 

Several years ago I first heard about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which supports pediatric cancer research, from a friend who lives in Boston. Last year, after being elected as Mayor of Parker, I decided to start the annual “Shave the Mayor” fundraiser for this great foundation. Their goal is to not only raise money to help cure pediatric cancer, but also to show solidarity to those who do not have a choice in losing their hair by shaving our own heads.

This year, I set a goal of raising $5,000 and having at least a dozen people shave their heads for our event. After all was said and done, over 22 people shaved their heads and we raised over $17,000 for this great foundation! It was truly an inspiring event and one that I will remember forever.

This year I met a young lady who lives in Parker named Haven who, at the age of 4, has been battling cancer most of her life. Her mom shared a story with me on how a treatment that Haven needed was previously not available in Colorado but is now because of a grant from the St. Baldrick’s foundation. It was an incredibly inspiring moment to see how our efforts can affect change right here at home.

Wish Week for Shelby

Several weeks after Shave the Mayor, I was asked to speak at Chaparral High School at an assembly marking the end of their “Wish Week”. I didn’t know much about this event but wanted to do what I could to help out. A few days before the event I found out what it was all about.

An 8th grade student at Sierra Middle School named Shelby had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. As you can imagine, this hit their family hard and suddenly. This is when the community of students and teachers at Chaparral sprang into action.

They decided to create “Wish Week” to help raise money for the Make A Wish foundation in Shelby’s honor. In addition, they decided to give Shelby a week of being part of the Chaparral High School family a year early. Seeing how these amazing teenagers pulled together to welcome Shelby and her family (including her older brother who is a student there) truly touched my heart and soul.

When I finally got to meet Shelby I found myself talking to a strong, confident, inspiring young woman who has decided to treasure life and leave her mark on our world. Her wish is to meet Katy Perry…and this wish is going to happen! Chaparral’s wish was to raise $7,000 for the Make a Wish foundation. Through the amazing efforts of the students and teachers, they raised over $20,000! Enough to provide three wishes to others with terminal illness. What an amazing experience it was for me to share with Shelby and her new High School family.

My Challenge to You

This month I have a challenge for each of our readers. I challenge you to do two things. First, tell someone you love them. Don’t wait, don’t think about it, don’t put it off…go right now and call a friend, walk over to a neighbor’s house or grab your spouse/child. Tell them how much they mean to you and how important their love is to you.

Second, do something this month that will leave an impact on your community. Skip your daily cup of coffee at the coffee shop and instead donate the $5 to a charity. Drop off some food at the local food bank. Donate an hour of volunteer time at a local community group. Do something…anything to leave your community better than it was last month.

With these two small things, each of us can make a lasting and impactful change for the future.

Equine-Assisted Therapy Provides a Language Boost to Colorado’s Buckaroos

ROSIES_RANCH_WEBby Mary Stathes, Director, Rosie’s Ranch and Denise Cushing, Board Member

There’s a new riding facility in Parker, Colorado that provides unique opportunities for children. It combines Equine Assisted Therapy, with a language-rich environment that makes Rosie’s Ranch a one-of-a-kind riding facility. All children, whether deaf or not, benefit from writing instruction and horsemanship lessons. It is their overall mission to increase self-esteem through a rigorous character education program, so that ALL campers will be able to tackle the challenges of their daily life when they return to their home communities. Celebrating individuality and the contributions of each camper is integral to the program. Hearing campers and campers with special needs are partnered to support building a greater social capacity. 

Meet Eleanor, a rambunctious 11 year old with a profound hearing loss. Part of Eleanor’s success can be traced back to two summers that were spent at Rosie’s Ranch. At nine, Eleanor began riding a lively pony named Pachuco during Pony Camp. At first, Eleanor was apprehensive because of her balance issues. Riding with a side walker on each side to support her unstable balance and a pony leader to ensure her safety, Eleanor exclaimed, “This is GOING to be fun, I can tell!” It was enjoyable, and a little scary, but she challenged herself. With the support of her hearing and deaf peers cheering her on, her self-confidence skyrocketed and she made it around the arena with a big smile on her face. As she approached the end of her riding time a heart-felt cheer was heard from the “crowd”, matched only with Eleanor’s own cheer of, “I DID it!” By the end of that week, only one side walker was needed to support Eleanor’s balance.

In summer of 2014, Rosie’s Ranch will debut a new program just for young teens. This camp will concentrate on the social-emotional needs of tweens as well as horsemanship. Bully prevention and the acceptance of others will be the main focus. Rosie’s Ranch strives to break down the social barriers that create loneliness and feelings of exclusion.

Rosie’s Ranch has been recognized for its programming by Hands & Voices, The Listen Foundation, Colorado Department of Education, Southglenn Sertoma, and the Colorado Chapter of AGBell. These organizations validate the positive effects of the programs at Rosie’s Ranch on the community at large. Everyone has fun at Rosie’s Ranch! For more information, please visit www.rosiesranch.com or call 720.851.0927. Volunteers are welcome and needed! 

Minecraft: The Good & The Bad

MINCRAFT_WEBOK, parents, here’s your essential crash course on Minecraft. If you have kids old enough to speak, there’s a good chance that Minecraft is already a part of their vocabulary. 

What is Minecraft?

Minecraft is a video game available on mobile devices, gaming consoles and computers. The game features simplistic looking retro 8-bit graphics in a 3 dimensional world. In a single-player game there are two primary modes. Survival Mode requires players to build shelter, hunt for food, travel and fight monsters to reach the end of the game. Creative Mode gives players access to unlimited resources, protects them from dying and allows them to fly and work quickly to facilitate creative building.

Why do kids love it?

Imagine a treehouse so high that parents can’t reach it. In the treehouse you can fly, build anything, fight monsters, cast enchanting spells and create a little mischief. How much freedom should your kids have? You decide.

The Good

  1. Endless creativity in Creative Mode
  2. Survival Mode teaches the work and planning needed to survive
  3. Kids are motivated to learn new things
  4. Redstone allows basic electrical and mechanical engineering
  5. “Mods” offer enhanced gameplay and more learning options

The Bad

  1. Survival mode can be scary for young kids
  2. Mindless use of TNT is unproductive
  3. Online servers are just as risky as online chat rooms
  4. There is killing of animals, monsters, people…including yourself
  5. Kids watch YouTube videos to learn – not all videos are appropriate. Consider buying Minecraft books for a safe way to learn.

Why Play?

  • Social – Join a local Minecraft Club or have Minecraft play dates.
  • Life Skills – In Survival Mode, there is an ending. Working towards that goal can be a rewarding learning process.
  • Engineering – Playing in Creative Mode and building contraptions with Redstone can teach basic engineering.
  • Fun – Playing games can help kids blow off steam. Just know what is fun time and what is learning time.

Brian Dickman has been hosting Minecraft Clubs for over a year and offers free information for parents. You can contact him at http://www.deepspace.me/contact.

It’s Time to Visit… Downtown Parker!

EXPLORE_PARKER_WEBWith the warm spring air settling into Parker, it’s time to come out of our winter shells and protective homes and head out into the sun filled parts of our Town. One of my favorite places to spend time is Downtown Parker.

No matter what you want to do…shop, grab a bite to eat, get a new haircut, catch a show, meet friends for a drink, let the kids play or many other things…Mainstreet in Downtown Parker has it. People of all ages can find a reason to visit this quaint yet vibrant part of our Town.

Great locally owned restaurants abound along Mainstreet:

Vines Wine Bar

Delicious tapas style food with an amazing wine selection to choose from. Ambiance is plentiful in this great locally owned restaurant. I love their patio and ½ price wine selections on Sunday Nights. Vineswinebar.com

elev 5900

Unique and fresh offerings that change on a regular basis make this locally owned establishment one of my favorites. Coupled with a great bar and one of the best patio areas around, it will quickly become one of your favorites. Elev5900.com

Indochine Cuisine

Best described as Thai Vietnamese fusion, local owner and chef Yume Tran has created a healthy and tasty menu that is always served with a smile. Indochine-cuisine.com

Suchine Sushi

Combining traditional sushi with unique and special rolls, this quick serve sushi restaurant has something for everyone…including the non-fish lovers like me. Suchine.com

Tailgte Tavern & Grill

Live music and a popular bar make this one of Parker’s top night spots. Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner assures new friends will always be at the Tailgate. Tailgatetavern.com

Portofino Pizza and Pasta

Homemade mozzarella, fresh ingredients and a quaint friendly atmosphere make this a local favorite. With call ahead takeout available, It’s always time to enjoy their dinners. portofinopizzaandpasta.com

Texas Diner & Pie Company

Just off Mainstreet in the Victorian Peaks Building, this local restaurant is a hidden gem. From fresh pizzas and juicy burgers to scrumptious pies and desserts, you will love spending time here. Best of all…PIE SHAKES! 720-448-5824

Swirls Frozen Yogurt

All natural ingredients and incredibly friendly staff make this a great place to get a treat. Sitting out front while enjoying your yogurt is a great way to spend the day. 720-583-0356

Nomelie Cupcakes

Who doesn’t love a good cupcake? Freshly made unique and traditional cupcakes are available daily to satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth. nomeliecupcakes.com

This spring stop in Downtown Parker and do a little exploring. I’m sure you will find at least one hidden gem that will become your favorite. Best of all, you will be supporting locally owned businesses and helping to make Parker a great hometown. 

Memorial Day in Parker


Honor those men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to guarantee your freedoms at the 5th Annual Memorial Day Veterans’ Service of Remembrance.  This year’s event will be held on Monday, May 26, 2014, 10 AM at the Parker Cemetery on Parker Road.


This event is a unique opportunity for our community to give honor and remembrance to those who have served our great nation.  Representatives from local government and National Armed Services will be presenting their thoughts and inspiration on behalf of our fallen heroes.  Families are welcome but come early as this free event fills up fast.


For more information on this powerful event, please contact Steve Travino, owner of Ponderosa Valley Funderal Services, at info@ponderosavalleyfunerals.com.


Bookends: Fallen Women

BOOKENDS_FALLEN_WEBBeret Osmundsen, a wealthy New York socialite, receives news that her estranged sister has died in Denver. Her sister had moved to Denver to live with their aunt and uncle the year after their falling out. Beret discovers that her sister had recently moved out and become a prostitute in the seedy tenderloin district of Denver in the spring of 1885. Beret is determined to discover what happened and find her sister’s killer. Detective Mick McCauley is not thrilled to find that he will have help in the murder investigation, but Beret insists on being involved in this high profile case. 

PAM: I am always excited to hear that Sandra Dallas has a new book coming out and this was not exception! I always enjoy her inclusion of Colorado landmarks during her different stories. I thought this story was different from her others. Did you feel that as well, Becky?

BECKY: I agree that a murder mystery was unexpected for this author and I didn’t feel the connection to old Colorado that I always enjoy in a Sandra Dallas book. What was familiar is a strong female character and in this story we follow a determined woman that is committed to solving this murder. Beret was a bit difficult for me to connect with and quite frankly like. Did you enjoy this brassy main character?

PAM: I typically like Sandra Dallas’ strong female characters. But, I agree that Beret was harder to appreciate and make a connection with. She was certainly headstrong and determined. She decided she was going to be part of the investigation and paired with the detective on the case, regardless of how he felt. Mick, the detective, was a character I enjoyed. What were your thoughts?

BECKY: I liked his character too and it would have been more interesting to have the story told through his eyes instead of Beret’s. I love a strong female character but I found her to be a bit confusing. There are times where she acts like an aristocrat with her nose in the air, yet she runs a mission for women in New York. Also, she is hell bent to find her sister’s killer, yet the sisters were not on speaking terms. As the story progresses we find out why the sisters were estranged. Did this make you like Beret more? 

PAM: Although it explained the sisters’ estrangement, it did not make me feel more connected to Beret. However, it did make me feel sad about her relationship with her sister. As the story progresses, we find out more information about her sister and her character. Beret seemed to know the truth about her sister and her behavior before she began the investigation into her death. However, she also hoped that they would eventually reconcile. This made me think she either hoped her sister would change or was just denying the truth. Do you think she realized the true character of her sister before her death?

BECKY: Before their estrangement and while they were growing up, Beret viewed her sister through rose colored glasses. She didn’t seem to be surprised by some of the ugly stories of her sisters character so I think that she must have known that the accusations were on target. I would have expected some shock or anger when confronted by some of these allegations but overall she was quite accepting of them. As the investigation progresses we are presented with a handful of suspects. Do you think that Sandra Dallas did a good job with all of the twists and turns in this story?

PAM: There were many twists and turns in this story. I felt that some were very mysterious and suspenseful, while others were more obvious. The author did bring in numerous characters during this story. One of the more unsavory characters was Beret’s ex-husband, whom had relocated to Colorado after their divorce. Did you feel as strongly as I did about this character?

BECKY: There was nothing likable in that character. He was an opportunist that used Beret for her fortune and gave very little in return. Once again, Beret views this person through rose colored glasses and doesn’t see his true nature for quite awhile. Although I didn’t connect with Beret, I felt sorry for her as she had a lack of a support system. Her parents had passed away, she was not close to her sister nor was there mention of a close girlfriend. The author does give us a character that becomes quite fond of Beret. Did you like this development?

PAM: I did like this development because I really enjoyed this character and was glad he became a main part of the story. It was interesting how the author connected his private and professional life to Beret. What did you think of this character and his role in the story?

BECKY: Without giving too much away I found him to be the most enjoyable character in the story. I do think that the connections were a bit far fetched but he did bring some warmth to Baret’s character. As much as I usually love Sandra Dallas books, this was not my favorite and I would recommend one of her other books instead of this one. Did this story interest you enough to pass it on to a friend?

PAM: I would recommend it for a quick read, but I agree with you. This was not my favorite Sandra Dallas book either. Where are you taking us next month, Becky?

BECKY: I am excited for some interesting conversation after reading The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley. Matt and Elle have know each other since they were small. Now they are both successful professionals and happily married. A fall from a ladder leaves Elle brain-dead and according to her medical directive she does not want her life sustained by artificial life support. As much as Matt doesn’t want to lose her, he is ready to support her decision. That is until the doctors realize that Elle is pregnant. We follow Matt through some difficult decisions and a nasty legal battle.

Local Author Spotlight: Cleft Talk for Kids & Forever Mama


Cleft Talk for Kids

Cleft Talk for Kids is an informative and interactive book that explains the condition of cleft lip and palate in a child-friendly format. In Cleft Talk for Kids, children and their caregivers meet Kate and Charlie, best friends who were born with clefts. Kate and Charlie explain to young readers why clefts happen and how having a cleft can affect someone on a daily basis. Kate and Charlie also share how similar children with clefts are to their peers despite their physical difference.

Forever Mama

Forever Mama is a heartwarming story of adoption as told through a conversation between mother and daughter, which touches on the importance of the daughter’s birth mother and foster mother who remain in China. In this conversation, the daughter learns of the qualities she has inherited from her mothers, and also receives the gift from her adoptive mother she has been hoping for all along…the promise of forever.

About the Author

Melissa Johnston-Burnham, LCSW, is the proud mother of the three greatest children on the planet, one of whom was internationally adopted from China in 2010. Melissa is also a clinician in a group psychotherapy practice who specializes in the treatment of children and adolescents. Melissa lives in a messy house outside of Denver, Colorado with her family and a multitude of pets. Forever Mama is her first book and Cleft Talk for Kids is her second.

Both Books are available for purchase online at Amazon.com

Dry Eye: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

DRYEYE_WEBWe Coloradans love to boast about our weather; 300 plus days of sunshine and a pleasant dry climate. However, these conditions can also wreak havoc on our eyes.

Dry eye is one of the leading conditions ophthalmologists treat in Colorado. Among other risk factors, our arid climate, intense sun, high altitude and metro smog contribute to the high percentage of Coloradans who suffer from dry eye. 

As we age, the risk of dry eye increases due to decreased tear production. By age 65, we produce 60 percent less lubricating tears than we do at age18. Blocked glands in the eye, known as Meibomian glands, can reduce the ability of the eye to produce natural lipids (oils) needed for healthy tear film. Women are more vulnerable than men because of their associated hormonal changes. Common medications, such as diuretics, hormone replacement therapy, some antidepressants, blood pressure medications, antihistamines, and various other medications may also contribute to the condition. Those with diabetes, arthritis, connective tissue and autoimmune diseases, skin conditions (ex. Rosacea), herpes zoster, and having received radiation therapy may all put you at increased risk for dry eye as well. The list goes on. Having LASIK, not getting enough Omega3 fatty acids, or working in front of a computer also increases your risk for dry eye. 

Given the above, it is likely that you or someone you know has dry eye syndrome whether they know it or not. Symptoms can range from simple eye fatigue, blurred vision, scratchiness, stinging, burning, redness, mucus production and even tearing. 

Dry eye syndrome is extremely common. Fortunately a routine visit to your eye doctor can determine whether you are suffering from dry eye. Simple treatments may include over the counter and/or prescription medications or even diet modification. He or she can also help determine if an in-office procedure such as punctual occlusion or LipiFlow should be considered. LipiFlow is a relatively new treatment option, which is specifically designed to treat blocked Meibomian glands in the eye with excellent results.

There is no need to suffer unnecessarily from dry eye syndrome. Exploring different treatment options will have you back out in the Colorado sunshine in no time!

Jennifer Grin, MD is a board certified ophthalmologist at Parker Adventist Hospital. 

Restaurant Review: Johnny’s Asian Bistro

REST_REVIEW_JOHNNYS_WEBParker has many locally owned restaurants that offer a wide variety of cuisine. Over the years I have had the privilege of visiting most of them. Weather it is taking a client to lunch or having a family dinner out, there are many choices.

One of my oldest clients in Parker frequently asks to meet at Johnny’s Asian Bistro. The location is convenient, right off of Parker Road, and easy for both of us to get to. Recently, we met for lunch at Johnny’s and I decided to share our experience with you.

One of my favorite things about locally owned restaurants is the personalized attention. I always enjoy being greeted by the owner and Johnny’s is no exception. With big smiles and warm greetings my client and I were shown to our table to start our meeting and enjoy lunch.

We always start off with an appetizer of Crab Cheese Wontons made fresh. These are a guilty pleasure that we enjoy and are some of the best I’ve ever had. We placed our order for lunch and began talking business. It was not long before our lunch arrived.

I rarely go outside of my “normal” box and when my Mongolian Beef arrived I was glad I didn’t. Perfect portion size and fresh ingredients made it as tasty as always. Although, the Noodle Bowl my client ordered looked amazing and I think I may have to try it next time.

Johnny’s Asian Bistro is truly one of Parker’s best kept secrets. With a quaint size dining room, very friendly staff and amazing food you won’t be disappointed. Not only are they open for lunch and dinner, but they also deliver. So grab a friend or your family and head over to Johnny’s Asian Bistro for your next meal out.

Johnny’s Asian Bistro
10471 South Parker Rd. #3C | 
Parker, CO 80134 | 303-841-8877
Monday – Saturday: 11am – 9pm (Closed Sunday)