6 April 2011: The people of Clear Creek make it great

The people make Clear Creek great

“A woman for our time,” said Clear Creek Economic Development President Peggy Stokstad when I asked her about Commissioner Joan Drury. “Thoughtful, kind, considerate, grounded, genuine, involved, wise, hip, and smart—the best of Clear Creek.”

I had run into Joan at Safeway as Maggie was bagging her groceries. After wrapping up their chat and Joan and I briefly exchanging pleasantries, I went on with my shopping, thinking about how much Joan means to Clear Creek given the many hats she wears.

Upon leaving the store, I told Maggie I was kicking around different ideas for a topic.

“Write about Joan,” she said, and I thought, “Right on.”

Since then, the “Joan topic” has broadened. At work the next day, a guest noticed from my name tag that I live in Georgetown. He asked if I had seen the movie “Idahoe,” Greg Markle’s production about the initial forays by George Jackson and other miners and pioneers into Clear Creek.

“I love that story!” he exclaimed.

“I listen to KGOAT every time I drive through,” he continued. “It comes in loud and clear even at the top of Berthoud Pass,” which means the station’s signal is stronger than my vehicle’s radio indicates. The man said he loves listening to all the different types of music and had bought the movie at the Idaho Springs Visitor Center.

I then went on to explain that the movie and the radio station are intricately connected through Greg who is also founder and serves still as KYGT’s fearless leader.

I can fill columns about locals that make a difference, and Ian Neligh does a super job of writing human interest stories on them such as the one about Verona Zimmerman in last week’s edition, but chance encounters and last week’s Courant provided various examples.

I find letters-to-the-editor among the more interesting reads on any op-ed page, and two in last week’s Courant resonated given what I had in mind for a topic.

The first from Cheryl Holmberg detailed how Eric Helmick saved her home and family by rousting them at 4:00 a.m. Clear Creek first firefighters were summoned and arrived within twenty minutes. “Heroes,” Cheryl calls all of them.

The other from David Stahl about THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, was a hoot to read. I’m not sure if David meant it tongue-in-cheek or literally, but I appreciate David’s ongoing willingness to put it out there. As one who has developed an alligator hide over the years from putting it out there, my hats off to everyone who is willing to say what he/she believes in print with name attached, particularly if it’s controversial and cuts across the grain of public opinion.

A few photos also caught my eye and made me smile. One was of CC Middle School science and math teacher Brett Hockmuth playing water basketball with his students to celebrate the end of the “testing season.” For now, CSAP is done and real teaching can commence. A dedicated teacher having fun with his students: What’s not to love?

Another was of Elmo, a yellow Lab mix pooch seeking some lucky human to adopt. It made me think of all the volunteers and staff at Charlie’s Place who not only give so much of themselves for the best among us—animals—but also make this community all the better for their efforts.

The other photos were on the front page—local musicians John Wilson, Rob Bol, and KYGT’s very own Gary Jorgensen and Bob Hickham feting fellow musician Arnie Green in a fundraiser for Arnie who’s battling leukemia. BTW: You can still contribute to the fund by sending a check to Arnie Green c/o of Plume Players / POB 25 / Silver Plume, CO 80476.

The list, while not like the grains of sand on the beach, goes on.

And Joan Drury exemplifies that attitude because “she knows what’s in Clear Creek’s heart.” says Commissioner Tim Mauck. “When she speaks, you listen since she’s exceptionally plugged in.”

“Joan quietly goes about her work as commissioner and member of numerous boards advocating for ways to improve the quality of life for all of us,” says Commissioner Kevin O’Malley.”

“She’s not your typical politician,” continued Peggy. “Joan’s fun to hang out with, a wise decision maker, and a better life can be had in Clear Creek because of Joan’s leadership and commitment to the community.”

Indeed. More than the mountains, more than the historical sites, and more than the economic opportunities, it is people like Joan and all the others who in the end make Clear Creek the great place it is to call home.

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