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Jamming On The Jetty At Sloan’s Lake

band and picnickersPICNICKERS ENJOY THE MUSIC OF COAL TOWN REUNION next to the Sloan’s Lake marina at Jamming on the Jetty, July 7. PHOTO BY LAURIE DUNKLEE.

By Laurie Dunklee

I’m seeing lots of our neighbors. It’s great to get to know people,” said Jessica Schurr, a resident of Sloan’s Lake neighborhood, as she perused the crowd at the annual Jamming on the Jetty at Sloan’s July 7.

Picnickers settled on the grass and boaters floated in the marina to hear local bands Coal Town Reunion and the Dyrty Byrds. In all, several hundred people attended the third annual event.

Neighbors meeting neighbors is the purpose of Jamming on the Jetty, said organizer AJ Steinke, a Realtor and new president of the Sloan’s Lake Citizen’s Group.

“We want people to know their neighborhood businesses too, so they can shop local,” said Steinke.

More than two dozen area businesses – from restaurants to retail stores to the local dentist – were on hand under tents along the jetty.

Dist. 1 City Councilman Rafael Espinoza was glad to see the activity in the park.

“It’s nice to see the $4.2 million jetty put to use,” he said. “This kind of community event draws attention to the need to better fund the maintenance of our parks.”

  Later in the day, festivities came to an abrupt close when an unexpected rain storm pelted the area. High winds mangled many of the tents and blew merchandise into the lake.

Travel To Scotland And Still Make It Home For Dinner

By Meghan Godby

Have a case of wanderlust, but no time for an international trip? You’re in luck. In just a few short weeks, the Colorado Scottish Festival will come to the town of Edgewater. Hosted by the St. Andrew Society of Colorado, it is the longest running Scottish Highland Games in the state, which has previously been held in locations such as Golden, Highlands Ranch and Snowmass Village.

The festival is in a similar vein to that of the Edgewater Celtic Harvest Festival, which ran for eight years before it was canceled due to a lack of management resources. The Colorado Scottish Festival is a completely separate event, however. Much larger in scale (nearly 10,000 attendees are expected over the weekend), it will offer a unique taste of Scottish culture both figuratively and literally. Experience officially sanctioned Highland games accented by bagpipes, dancing and other Celtic cultural demonstrations.

In fact, the whole weekend will be bustling with activity. There will be live music (including a Saturday evening concert by Angus Mohr, a local Celtic rock group), Dogs of the British Isles, authentic Celtic food and shopping, competitions, reenactments and more! Are you a genealogy buff? You’ll have a chance to research your Scottish heritage and find your clan.

Other highlights include a British Car Show (Sunday), a whisky tasting (separate ticket required) and a bake sale fundraiser hosted by the Rocky Mountain Highland Dancers.

Heather Miller is a Games Marshal for both the Colorado Scottish Festival and the Rocky Mountain Highland Games. Both organizations have special meaning to her; not only have both her and her daughter been competitive Highland dancers, but her family has strong Scottish heritage.

“I grew up in New Hampshire with a father who played the bagpipes [as well as] grandparents from Scotland,” she shared.

It’s difficult for her to pick her favorite part of the festival, but she stresses that there’s something for everyone.

“The live historical re-enactments make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time,” she explains.

The event is affordable, educational and family friendly. Tickets cost $10 each day ($5 a day for children, seniors and military). Are you an Edgewater resident? Even better! You’ll get in completely free - just bring proof of residence. Children under 12 are free as well.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sat., Aug. 4, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sun., Aug. 5.

The festival relies heavily on volunteers; if you’re interested in helping out, contact volunteer@scottishgames.org or fill out the contact form on their website. Additionally, the Society is a 501(c)(3) and accepts tax-deductible donations and sponsorships.

For tickets, a complete event schedule and information on VIP packages, visit www.scottishgames.org.

Who Won, Who Lost In Local Primary Elections

By Mike McKibbin

Three contested Democratic races were decided by voters in the Neighborhood Gazette circulation area during the June 26 statewide primary election.

In Senate District 34 (includes parts or all of Denver, Sloan’s Lake, Berkeley and the West Colfax corridor between Sheridan and Federal boulevards), Julie Gonzales easily defeated her two primary opponents, Alan Kennedy-Shaffer and Milo Schwab. Gonzales received nearly 64 percent support, or 14,763 votes. Schwab had just under 20 percent, or 4,569, while Kennedy-Shaffer received more than 16 percent, or 3,813 votes.

Gonzales, policy director for the Meyer Law Office in Denver, will face Republican candidate Gordon Alley in the Nov. 6 general election. Alley, who did not have a primary opponent, is an associate pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church. His sister, Kristina Joy Alley, is the Republican candidate for Colorado House District 28.

The current District 34 officeholder is state Sen. Lucia Guzman (D), the assistant minority leader. State senators are limited to two consecutive four-year terms and Guzman cannot seek reelection.

In House District 24 (includes all or parts of Wheat Ridge, Edgewater, Arvada, Lakewood, Golden, Lakeside, Mountain View and unincorporated Jefferson County communities of Applewood, Fairmount and West Pleasant View), Monica Duran defeated Kris Teegardin by a 55-45 percent margin, or 6,617-5,513 votes. Duran, a current Wheat Ridge City Council member, will face Republican Arthur Erwin in November.

Erwin lives in Golden and his website noted he is the human resource director at a major local auto dealership where he has worked for nearly 30 years.

The seat is currently held by state Rep. Jessie Danielson, (D). State representatives can serve no more than four consecutive two-year terms. Danielson was first elected to the position in 2014 and won reelection two years later. She is not seeking another term.

In House District 4 (includes all or part of the West Colfax corridor between Sheridan and Federal, Denver North and West neighborhoods of the Highlands, Villa Park, Sloan’s Lake, Barnum, Berkeley, Sunnyside and Sun Valley), Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez won a three-way race over Amy W. Beatie and Ed Britt. Gonzales-Gutierrez garnered 58 percent, or 7,695 votes, while Beatie had 33 percent, or 4,338, and Britt 9 percent, or 1,180 votes.

Gonzales-Guiterrez will face Republican Robert “Dave” John in the general election. John, who did not have a primary opponent, has filed campaign finance reports with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office that show he has not received nor spent any money this year. At this time, he does not appear to have an online presence.

The seat is currently held by state Rep. Dan Pabon, (D), who cannot run for reelection.

In Colorado, all 65 House seats are up for election every two years. In the state Senate, 17 out of 35 seats are on the ballot this year. While Democrats expanded their state House majority from 34-31 in 2014 to 37-28 in 2016, Republicans won control of the state Senate in 2014 by an 18-17 majority. In 2016, Republicans maintained that slim margin, so Democrats need to gain one seat to take control of the Senate. The same seats that were up for election in 2014 are on the ballot this year.

Mavis The Bookmobile Delivers The Magic Of Reading

N Sullivan and CrewBOOKBAR OWNER NICOLE SULLIVAN with converted ambulance Mavis the Magical Bookmobile and “shop kids” Grace and Jack. Mavis is used to promote literacy and distribute thousands of donated books in northwest metro Denver. PHOTO BY KEN LUTES.

By Ken Lutes

Mavis the Magical Bookmobile is a viable component of BookBar’s continuing mission to increase literacy in the community. The refurbished ambulance no longer provides life-saving medical services, but it does promote life-changing reading opportunities through the distribution of thousands of books.

Mavis’s purpose is two-fold: to contribute to BookBar owner Nicole Sullivan’s quest to expand literacy programs and to market the importance of independent bookstores.

“I’d had the idea of a bookmobile in the back of my head for a while,” Sullivan said. “Then a while ago, we hired someone who actually had a bookmobile, and we bought it from her.”

Mavis has since received a makeover – new flooring and a red-orange paint job that sports a new logo.

“As an old ambulance, we have a bench where people can get out of the heat, and sit and talk about books and reading.”

BookBar and Mavis work with places that don’t necessarily have space to shelve or store books, like Bienvenidos Foodbank.

“That’s where Mavis can roll up, open her doors, and pass out donated books, Sullivan said. “I hope to do that sort of thing on a weekly basis. We have books in Spanish, too. There are bi-lingual schools in northwest Denver, like Sandoval, Bryant-Webster, and Valdez, and we make a point of going to those.”

This was the second year that BookBar was involved in a donation program called Local to Local. In partnership with the Rocky Mountain Chapter of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, “we chose and bought about 3,000 children’s books by more than a dozen local authors and gave them to school children mostly in northwest Denver, before the summer break,” Sullivan said.

To better facilitate the thousands of books donated each year to those in need, this year Sullivan created BookGive [bookbardenver.com/bookgive], the non-profit arm of BookBar. Each donation, whether cash or gently used books, is now tax deductible. She said they’ll be doing more events around the charitable organization, to get the community involved with getting books to children.

“Mavis did the Northwest Denver Book Exchange at North High in April. We received a ton of book donations – about 1,000 – and those were given away to schools for their reading programs. Next year will be our 10th year for that event.”

BookBar also partners with Denver Public Library’s Smiley branch, in Berkeley, for a summer reading program.

“After the program, kids can come down and get a discounted lunch with us.”

Sullivan’s donation programs focus mostly on lower elementary and middle school-aged children, “but we don’t want it to end there,” she said.

“I once did a donation event with a local author, and we got into a pedi-cab and gave away books to homeless people up and down 16th Street Mall. They were so grateful and excited to receive the book. I keep thinking about that, the potential we have for Mavis to get books to everybody. Adults need books, too.”

Non-profit recipients of BookGive include Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Mount Saint Vincent Home and The Gathering Place, among others.

Anyone with books to donate to any of the Mavis programs can bring them to BookBar, 4280 Tennyson St., or to any Mavis event – she’ll be at Sunnyside Music Festival on Sept. 8.

Sullivan wants to let people know that there are plenty of “book desert” neighborhoods in metro Denver, with no independent bookstores.

“We want to keep reminding people that if they don’t have a bookstore nearby, they can order online from a local independent bookstore. This is another purpose for Mavis, to get the word out that people can give back to their local community rather than to a wealthy billionaire.”

BookBar collaborates with other regional bookstores, such as The Tattered Cover, Boulder Book Store and Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, and can use Mavis to shuttle visiting authors between book shops or various locations where they’ll be speaking.

When she’s not at a book event, Mavis can be found behind the store, where she is used for kids’ storytime events and birthday parties.

BookBar Launches Free Book Club Website

“To this day, one of the questions people most often ask is whether we know of any book clubs they could join,” Sullivan said. “I built a website to answer that question.”

A free nation-wide service, ReadTribe.com, will connect readers to book clubs in their area.

“It’s like Match.com, but for book clubs, so people can find the right book club for their reading style. Each book club that registers is required to link to a local independent bookstore; that keeps the whole book ecosystem locally connected.”

The hard launch for the website will be July 21.

Sullivan says the next step is to register as many independent bookstores as possible, so they can get the word out to their customers.

“This is my biggest baby since [opening] BookBar. I’ve been working on it for years.

“I think the reason why the written word so important to people, and why I’m so passionate about books in general, is because when you read a book, you put yourself into someone else’s shoes, into their feelings and their heart and soul, and you’re able to view someone else’s experience in no other way possible. I feel strongly it makes us better people.”

For more information about Mavis, BookGive and ReadTribe, visit bookbardenver.com.